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Court junks Napoles bail petition

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) on Thursday, November 21, junked the petition for bail filed by Janet Lim Napoles in connection with an illegal detention case.

The petition was dismissed by Judge Elmo Alameda of the Makati RTC Branch 150. 

The court ruled that the evidence against Napoles is strong, according to the ruling. It led to the conclusion "that the offense of serious illegal detention as charged, has been committed" by Napoles, it said.

The serious illegal detention case stems from allegations that she and her brother Reynald "Jojo" Lim held their employee and second cousin Benhur Luy between December 2012 and March 2013, so that he won't be able to reveal details of an alleged multimillion-peso pork barrel scam.

Napoles is the alleged mastermind of the scam, in which bogus non-governmental organizations are used as fronts to receive funds from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allotments of senators and congressmen. (READ: Madame Jenny: Woman in the eye of the storm)

The bail petition was filed September 16, with her lawyers arguing that the evidence of the prosecution is "weak."

But on the last day of the bail hearing, the prosecution's principal witness, Luy, revealed details about his detention, including a photo of his mother, instructions to lie about his whereabouts, and being threatened that his eyes, nose, and ears would be removed. (READ: Benhur's testimony)

Serious illegal detention is a non-bailable case. However, Section 7 under Rule 114 of the the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure says "no person charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, shall be admitted to bail when evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the stage of the criminal prosecution."

On the last day of the marathon bail hearings last October 30, high-profile lawyer Lorna Kapunan resigned as Napoles' lead counsel, and was replaced by collaborating counsel Alfredo Villamor.

At present, Napoles is detained at Fort Sto Domingo in Sta Rosa, Laguna. She is also facing a plunder complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman. Rappler.com