Court defers arraignment of Napoles kids for graft

MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan's Third Division deferred on Friday, October 10,  the arraignment of the children of alleged pork scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, for graft charges.

The postponement is due to the appeal of James Christopher and Jo Christine Napoles, filed on October 8, challenging their approved indictment over 15 counts of graft. 

Their mother, charged with plunder and 42 counts of graft, is believed to be the mastermind of an elaborate ploy to divert lawmakers' Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel to ghost projects of her dummy foundations.

In their appeal, the Napoles children reiterated their position that the state witnesses implicating them in the scam are "bereft of credibility." (READ: Napoles' children slam polluted state witnesses)

They argued that the witnesses, all former employees of their mother, had fabricated documents and dealt with government officials to facilitate the "implementation" of PDAF-funded development projects.

"Polluted sources should be received with suspicion and subjected to close scrutiny," they argued in their motion for reconsideration.

The witnesses' testimonies "should not be given weight by the honorable court," they added.

This is the same theory employed  by Napoles and other defense teams in the pork scam cases before another division of the Sandiganbayan. (READ: Benhur Luy ran away with the money, says Revilla camp)

The Napoles siblings already posted bail of P450,000 each more than two months ago, ahead of their arrest warrants. (READ: Anti-graft court upholds indictment of Napoles' children)

Arraignment for others, a go

While the Napoles children will not be arraigned on October 13, others accused of graft over the pork barrel scam will still be arraigned on that day:

Sandiganbayan 3rd division clerk of court Dennis Pulma said that Guadinez, Palama, and Fernando are still at large. –