Prosecution seeks to discredit evidence in Estrada, Napoles' bail petitions

MANILA, Philippines – Government lawyers are opposing the evidence separately submitted by Senator Jinggoy Estrada and businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles to support their bail petitions in relation to the plunder case filed against them before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan.

The prosecution filed on November 16 a 16-page Comment seeking to deny the petitions for bail filed separately by the two, and discrediting evidence by calling them "immaterial and irrelevant to the issue in the plunder case."

Estrada was charged for allegedly pocketing P183 million in kickbacks and commissions from his Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) by supposedly funneling funds into ghost projects implemented through NGOs associated with Napoles.

For his bail petition, Estrada submitted on November 9 evidence such as:

Meanwhile, Napoles submitted the following documents on November 12 for her bail petition:

The prosecution said these evidence were presented to discredit the testimonies of Luy and Tuason. It added that they failed to discuss the involvement of co-defendants Pauline Labayen, a former staff of Estrada, and John Raymund de Asis, a long-time employee of Napoles, in the case.

"(T)he primordial issue in this case is whether or not accused Estrada and Labayen, in conspiracy with accused Napoles and de Asis, accumulated, amassed or acquired ill-gotten wealth as a consequence of Estrada's misuse of his PDAF allocations. Accordingly, any document or evidence that has no relation to such issue is clearly inadmissible," the prosecution said.

Estrada surrendered himself to the police after a warrant of arrest was issued by the anti-graft court's 5th Division against him and 25 other co-accused in June of 2014.

His camp had earlier accused the prosecution of employing tactics that would delay a court decision on his motion to be allowed to post bail. The prosecution, however, argued that the senator is waging a 'futile campaign' to delay proceedings of his plunder case. –

Editor's note: A previous version of this article used the word "evidences" as the plural of evidence. It's an old-English use of the word that is not as popular today. We've changed to the more colloquial and collective "evidence."