Napoles children seek reduction of 'excessive' bail

MANILA, Philippines – Is the bail P450,000 set by Sandiganbayan for Jo Christine and James Christopher Napoles “too exorbitant”? The Napoleses think so.

The children of accused pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles are also defendants in the multi-billion-peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam case. On Tuesday, May 26, they filed a motion with the anti-graft court's 3rd division, claiming the bail set is too excessive.

The defendants posted bail through a company called Alpha Insurance and Surety Company Incorporated to secure their temporary liberty. They informed the court that the company refused to renew their bails “for unknown reasons.”

In order to stay out of jail, the Napoles children have to pay their bail bond in cash.

The defendants said in their motion, through their lawyer Romeo P Villarta III: “Considering the huge amount of bail of P450,000 for each accused, they most respectfully plead unto the Honorable Court that the same be equitably reduced. The amount of bail to be imposed on both the accused should not be excessive as to kill the spirit that enlivens this constitutionally granted right.”

The defense, however, insisted that the purpose of setting bail at that amount is to guarantee that the accused will be compelled to appear before the court when required. But they also claim that neither of the Napoles children are flight risks, because they have voluntarily submitted themselves to the court’s jurisdiction even after they posted the surety bond and appeared for their arraignment.

The two are co-accused in the 15 graft charges along with Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, their mother, and Enrile’s former staff Jessica “Gigi” Reyes.

They were accused of conspiracy in mishandling public funds totaling P345 million, consisting of PDAF allocations to Enrile’s office that were allegedly funneled to ghost projects using bogus non-government organizations linked to Janet Napoles. –