The Supreme Court (SC) has given the Sandiganbayan the authority to proceed with the trial of alleged “pork barrel” scam queen and businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
The green light came after the tribunal affirmed findings of probable cause against Napoles in connection with charges of plunder, malversation and graft against the businesswoman before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan.
During deliberations of the SC en banc on Tuesday, it junked petitions for certiorari by Napoles in three separate cases and gave credence to prima facie evidence found by the Office of the Ombudsman against her.
Napoles had sought to annul and set aside a joint resolution of the Ombudsman, alleging it was issued with grave abuse of discretion.
The SC ruled that the petitions should be dismissed for lack of merit.
It pointed out that it is within the powers of the Ombudsman to investigate and file the necessary cases if it found probable cause.
The SC said it cannot interfere with findings of the Office of the Ombudsman in the exercise of its investigatory and prosecutory powers.
“The power to determine whether a complaint is sufficient in form and substance is lodged with the Ombudsman, who may continue with the inquiry or dismiss [the complaint]outright. The exercise of this power is rarely disturbed in view of this court’s policy of non-interference in the Ombudsman’s exercise of its investigatory and prosecutory powers,” it added.