• Sula to testify in bail hearing of Napoles


    Marina Sula is expected to testify today at the hearing on the petitions for bail filed by former Rep. and now Gov. ernor Rizalina Seachon-Lanete of Masbate and businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles before the Sandiganbayan’s 4th Division.

    Lanete and Napoles are facing the charge of plunder, a non-bailable offense, before the anti-graft court in connection with the pork barrel scam.

    The bail proceedings began on Wednesday and before session adjourned, Lanete’s lawyer Laurence Arroyo asked who the next witness would be.

    The prosecution panel handling the case told the court that they will present their whistleblowers and said, “We’ll start with Marina Sula.”

    Sula, a former employee of JLN Corporation, was the president of Masaganang Ani Para Sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc. (MAMFI) – one of the non-government organizations allegedly run by Napoles.

    “We’ll review the records and we’ll just cross examine her tomorrow. We’re not willing to say right now what questions we will ask of her but we’re ready for her,” Arroyo told reporters after the hearing.

    The first witness, lawyer Myra Mallari, was called to the stand on Wednesday’s hearing but her testimony did not proceed after the prosecution and defense instead made stipulations on the authenticity of documents she was supposed to testify on.

    These documents are the registration papers of MAMFI, Countrywide Agri and Rural Economic and Development Foundation, Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc., and Social Development Program for Farmer’s Foundation Inc. as well as JLN Corporation.

    Next to take the witness stand was Marissa Santos, the chief administrative officer of the Department of Budget and Management’s Central Records Division Administrative Services.

    The parties later on during her testimony instead reached stipulations that she can identify 11 Special Allotment Release Orders, nine Notice of Cash Allocation, and nine Advice of Notice of Cash Allocation Issued.

    Lanete is detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City. Napoles was detained at Camp Bagong Diwa before she was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong, after a Makati Trial Court found her guilty in the serious illegal detention case filed by pork barrel scam witness Benhur Luy.

    Lanete’s aide Jose Sumalpong and Napoles’ employee John Raymond De Asis, who are also respondents in the plunder case, remain at large.

    In the arraignment last month, prosecutors said they aim to present 42 witnesses in the bail hearings.

    The court has suggested that both parties can stipulate on the testimony of at least eight of the witnesses during the preliminary conferences in order to expedite the bail proceedings which, under Supreme Court rules, are summary in nature.


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