The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday upheld the Sandiganbayan’s decision denying the petition for bail of Janet Lim Napoles, one of the principal accused in the multi-billion pesos pork barrel scam.
In an en banc decision, the high court junked the Napoles’ petition for bail in the plunder and other cases against her in connection with the questionable use of the Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel, an allocation given to lawmakers for their pet projects.
“The Court found that the Sandiganbayan had not gravely abused its discretion in denying the petition,” Teodoro Te, SC spokesman, said.
Napoles had filed several petitions before the tribunal seeking to stop her indictment in the pork barrel cases, but these were all dismissed by the high court.
In her petition last July, Napoles cited the plunder case of former senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who was allowed to post bail.
She insisted that she should also be allowed to post bail just like Enrile because prosecutors “failed to present strong evidence.”
Napoles said the allegations that she and the other accused accumulated or acquired ill-gotten wealth in the amount of at least P50 million should “fall into pieces as the amount of money pilfered cannot be exactly determined.”
Napoles also alleged that the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion in denying her earlier plea for bail.
In August 2015, the SC granted Enrile’s petition for bail, citing his “advanced age and poor health.”
Two other former senators are also facing plunder complaints for the alleged misuse of their pork barrel – Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.
The senators were accused of pouring millions of pesos of the pork barrel to non-government organizations owned or controlled by Napoles in exchange for huge kickbacks.
In September, the Sandiganbayan special fifth division granted Estrada’s petition for bail.