• Napoles files motion seeking dismissal of plunder charge


    THE alleged mastermind in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or “pork barrel” scam is seeking permission from the Sandiganbayan’s First Division to file a demurrer to evidence in the plunder case filed against her, former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and other co-accused.

    The trial of Janet Lim-Napoles started in June. The prosecution finished presenting its evidence in October.

    A demurrer to evidence is a motion to dismiss in which a case is submitted for judgment based only on the prosecution’s evidence that the defense believes does not warrant a conviction. If a demurrer to evidence is denied, the defense will have to take its turn to present its evidence.

    “In summation, the evidence presented by the prosecution is absolutely lacking, i.e[.], as to the approximate time of the commission of the offense, the particular place where the offense was committed, and more importantly, the specific acts or omissions constituting the offense,” Napoles’s camp said in part in a motion filed on November 24.

    The defense said in part that “it was Accused Napoles, a private individual, who was alleged to have unjustly enriched herself in conspiracy and with the assistance of the [then-]public officers charged herein…In the case of Plunder, it must be shown that the public officer was principally and ultimately benefited or enriched. Obviously, the information failed to specify who is the main plunderer in this case. Hence, on this point the Plunder charge against Accused Napoles should be dismissed.”

    “Accordingly, Accused, through counsel, begs kind leave of the Honorable Court to file demurrer to evidence on the ground that the evidence adduced by the prosecution miserably failed to destroy/rebut the constitutional presumption of innocence of accused which warrants their conviction, nor has the prosecution proved the accused’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt to produce a conviction,” Napoles’s camp said.

    The Office of the Ombudsman filed the P224-million plunder case before the Sandiganbayan in 2014 against Revilla, his former aide Richard Cambe, Napoles, Ronald John Lim, and John Raymund de Asis.

    Revilla is one of three former senators — the other two were Juan Ponce Enrile and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada — whom the Ombudsman charged, along with Napoles and other individuals, in 2014 in connection with the PDAF scam.

    The Ombudsman filed 16 counts of graft against Revilla; a P183-million plunder case and 11 counts of graft against Estrada, and; a P172-million plunder case and 15 counts of graft against Enrile. REINA LEANNE C. TOLENTINO



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