• Napoles case set for pre-trial conference

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    The Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati is set to conduct today the pre-trial conference of the serious illegal detention case filed against suspected pork barrel fund scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.

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    The conference will be held before Judge Elmo Alameda of the Makati RTC Branch 150, which acquired jurisdiction over the cited criminal case filed by Napoles’ cousin and pork barrel fund scam witness Benjur Luy.

    Alameda set the pre-trial conference of the serious illegal detention case on December 9 after he rejected the petition for bail filed by Napoles, who is currently detained in Fort Santo Domingo in Santa Rosa, Laguna.

    Napoles’ bail petition was filed on September 16 with her lawyers arguing that the evidence of the prosecution is “weak.”

    On the last day of the bail hearing, the prosecution presented Luy himself, who revealed the details surrounding his detention.

    Meanwhile, lawyer Josefa Valencia, clerk of court of Branch 150 of the Makati RTC, explained that a pre-trial conference is conducted to expedite the disposition of cases.

    Section 1 of Rule 118 of the Rules of Court provides that a pre-trial conference in criminal cases is conducted to consider the following: plea-bargaining; stipulation of facts; marking for identification of the evidence of the parties; waiver of objections to admissibility of evidence; modification of the order of trial if the accused admits the charge but interposes a lawful defense; and other matters that will promote a fair and expeditious trial of the criminal and civil aspects of the case.

    The criminal complaint stemmed from Luy’s claim that Reynald “Jojo” Lim, upon the order of Napoles, detained him because of his alleged illegal transactions with the staff of some lawmakers.

    Luy eventually surfaced and revealed that several lawmakers and government officials were involved in a large-scale scam involving the diversion of Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) to several bogus non-government organizations set up by Napoles.

    The businesswoman is also facing a plunder complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman together with some lawmakers and government officials who allegedly received kickbacks from the disbursement of their PDAF.

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