Sandiganbayan

Evidence enough to convict Napoles over PDAF – Sandiganbayan

Rappler.com
Evidence enough to convict Napoles over PDAF – Sandiganbayan

ANTI-GRAFT. Facade of Sandiganbayan at Quezon City.

Jansen Romero/Rappler

In a separate resolution, the anti-graft court also says the same evidence was enough to overcome presumption of innocence of former Masbate lawmaker Rizalina Seachon-Lanete in her plunder case

MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan, the country’s anti-graft court, declared in a resolution that the government prosecutors were able to present enough evidence proving plunder and corruption charges against Janet Napoles.

“The testimonial and documentary evidence presented by the prosecution, unless successfully rebutted by the accused, are sufficient to support a verdict of guilt against accused Napoles,” the Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division said in its resolution dated November 25.

Associate Justice Lorifel Lacap Pahimna penned the resolution, while Associate Justices Michael Frederick L. Musngi and Bayani H. Jacinto concurred.

In a separate resolution dated November 21, the anti-graft court also said the same evidence was enough to overcome presumption of innocence of former Masbate lawmaker Rizalina Seachon-Lanete on her plunder case, and on the latter’s multiple graft cases with Technology Resource Center (TRC) executives Dennis Cunanan and Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana.

The two rulings are major shifts of the court’s stance, opposing its earlier remarks that the prosecution does not have sufficient evidence to pin down Napoles and Lanete.

The ruling

The court denied the motions of Lanete, Cunanan, and Lacsamana for the leave of court to file demurrer to evidence. The Sandiganbayan division said it had found solid evidence against the filers, contrary to their contention that the elements of criminal charges were not proven.

“It can be gleaned from the records of the case that the prosecution has presented sufficient evidence to prove that they have caused the release of the PDAF funds by signing the disbursement vouchers …relative to the cases filed against them,” the court explained.

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The court also told Lanete that her claim that someone forged her signatures cannot be presumed, but must be proven by “clear, positive, and convincing evidence.”

“Those who make the allegation of forgery have the burden of proving it.”

The former Masbate lawmaker was accused of pocketing P108.4 million from her Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or “pork barrel” as former member of the Congress from 2007 to 2009. Lanete was accused of funneling her pork barrel into Social Development Program for Farmers Foundations Inc., an alleged bogus private foundation created by Napoles.

Lanete is facing plunder cases along with her former staff Jose Sumalpong, Napoles, and the latter’s long-time employee John Raymond de Asis. The former Masbate lawmaker is also facing 11 counts of graft in relation to PDAF transactions. – Rappler.com

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