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CA: Arrest warrant vs fugitive Napoles brother stays

MANILA, Philippines – Reynald Lim, brother of suspected pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, will remain a fugitive.

This, after the Court of Appeals (CA) junked his plea to stop his indictment and recall the arrest warrant against him for allegedly detaining state witness Benhur Luy against his will.

In a resolution dated July 2 but only released Monday, July 7, the CA denied Lim's motion for reconsideration against the finding of probable cause against him. The motion was filed on November 20, 2013.

Citing grave abuse of discretion, Lim wanted the CA to review its ruling upholding the arrest warrant issued by Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 150 Presiding Judge Elmo Alameda. 

Napoles and Lim, both accused of detaining Luy against his will, face serious illegal detention charges before the Makati RTC. Serious illegal detention is a non-bailable offense.

They have both argued that Luy was on a spiritual retreat at the time of the alleged detention, from December 2012 to March 2013. Luy was rescued by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation from Napoles' unit at the Pacific Plaza Tower in Taguig City.

The appellate court didn't find merit in Lim's appeal. The court resolved that his arguments citing insufficient evidence can be better ventilated in a full-blown trial.

"We are not prejudging the criminal case or the guilt or innocence of the petitioner. We are simply saying that, as a general rule, if the information is valid on its face, there is no showing of manifest error, grave abuse of discretion or prejudice on the part of the public prosecutor, courts should not dismiss it for 'want of evidence' because evidentiary matters should be presented and heard during the trial," the 4-page resolution read.

The resolution was penned by Associate Justice Noel Tijam and concurred by associate justices Romeo Barza and Ramon Cruz.

Napoles allegedly siphoned off millions of pesos in lawmakers' Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) by using fake non-governmental organizations that served on paper as beneficiaries of the funds. It's the biggest corruption scandal in the Philippines in recent years.

Luy's family sought the help of the NBI when they suspected Napoles was detaining Luy for his knowledge of the scam operations.

Reynald Lim was also named in the graft case against Napoles in a relation to ghost deliveries of Kevlar helmets to the military. Lim and his wife violated probation rules by slipping in and out of the country then. Rappler found out that in those visits to the United States unauthorized by the anti-graft court, he had purchased properties for Napoles. – Rappler.com 

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Read more stories on Reynald Lim here.