The Third Division of the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) on Wednesday lifted the arrest order it earlier issued against Jeane Napoles, daughter of the suspected mastermind of the so-called pork barrel scam, for failing to show up in her arraignment on April 29 over a P17.46-million tax evasion charge.
Jeane is the youngest daughter of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, who was recently convicted of serious illegal detention and is facing separate plunder and graft charges before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the pork barrel scam.
The younger Napoles gained notoriety after pictures of her lavish lifestyle abroad went viral in social media.
Jeane was charged for allegedly failing to file her income tax returns for the years 2011 and 2012.
She arrived at the Court of Tax Appeals compound at past 1 p.m., Wednesday, and was escorted by her own security guards who prevented the media from getting near her. Jeane was immediately escorted out of the courtroom after the Third Division granted her motion.
At the hearing, her lawyer Stephen David explained that he was the one who advised Jeane not to appear before the court.
David claimed that Jeane was already in the court’s compound in Diliman, Quezon City, on the day she was supposed to be arraigned.
“Under my solemn oath, I would like to inform you that [Jeane] Napoles intended to attend her arraignment. In fact, she was already within the premises of the CTA compound when I told her not to go as it was my honest belief that the hearing will be canceled,” he said.
“She was residing in the United States but she decided to come home to face the charges. It only shows that she has no intention of disobeying the court,” David added.
He said Jeane’s absence was not because of any intent to disobey the court “but solely because of the advice of her counsel who believed that her presence was not needed considering that there are still pending incidents for the resolution,” read the defense’s motion that sought to lift the bench warrant of arrest issued against her and to reinstate the P25,000 bail she had posted for her temporary liberty.