It was the anti-graft court which entered a not guilty plea in behalf of James Christopher and Jo Christine Napoles after the children of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, have both refused to enter any plea in connection with the multi-billion peso ‘Pork Barrel’ scam.
The Napoles children who were finally arraigned before the Sandiganbayan Third Division on Wednesday did not enter any plea, prompting Presiding Judge and Third Division Chairperson Amparo Cabotaje-Tang to order the entry of a not guilty into the records for them.
“As advice of our counsel, we’re not entering any plea,” both the Napoles siblings said during their arraignment.
The two were co-accused in the graft charges against their mother Janet, the alleged mastermind in the pork barrel scam who is also facing three separate plunder charges after she allegedly pocketed public funds through kickbacks and commissions using the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and channeling it to her fake non-government organizations (NGOs).
Revilla and Estrada are currently detained at the PNP Custodial Center, while Enrile is currently under hospital detention at the PNP General Hospital, both inside the Camp Crame compound in Quezon City.
Meanwhile, Budget undersecretary Mario Relampagos who is a co-accused in the graft charges also refused to give any plea.
Both the Napoles siblings and Relampagos are currently out on bail.
Last week, the Third Division allowed Revilla to spend overnight at the St. Luke Medical Center in Taguig City to undergo series of medical tests. PNA