THE Sandiganbayan Fifth Division has denied the demurrers to evidence of former Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives Party-list Rep. Edgar Valdez and Janet Lim-Napoles in their plunder case in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam.
The Office of the Ombudsman filed the case before the anti-graft court in 2015 against Valdez, Napoles, and another individual.
The Ombudsman alleged in the charge sheet that the former lawmaker received “commissions and ‘kickbacks'” totaling P57.787 million from Napoles and/or her representative.
“A scrutiny of the records demonstrates that there is sufficient evidence showing that Valdez accumulated more than the amount of P50,000,000.00 from his PDAF funded projects from 2004 to 2010”, the court said in part in a 34-page resolution promulgated on Aug. 28, 2019.
“The case before us is replete with evidence that would warrant a conviction if not rebutted by the defense,” it said.
“At this point, the burden of evidence shifts to the defense to disprove what the prosecution has shown by evidence, or to prove by evidence the circumstances showing that the accused did not commit the crime charged or cannot otherwise be held liable therefor”, it said, citing a 2009 Supreme Court ruling.
The court set the defense’s presentation of evidence on Sept. 12, 2019.
A demurrer to evidence is a motion to dismiss challenging the sufficiency of the evidence presented by the prosecution during trial.