Corruption in the Philippines

Napoles gets 36 years sentence over pork barrel scam case

Jairo Bolledo

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Napoles gets 36 years sentence over pork barrel scam case
(1st UPDATE) But the Sandiganbayan also acquits Napoles from 16 cases in relation to the pork barrel scam

MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan, the country’s anti-graft court, convicted businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles of graft and malversation in relation to the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

In a ruling released on Monday, May 22, the anti-graft court’s Second Division convicted Napoles of two counts each of graft and malversation of public funds in relation to the PDAF scam involving the late former Davao del Sur 1st District representative Douglas Cagas. 

Napoles was sentenced to six to 10 years for each count of graft, and then 12 to 17 years for each count of malversation. In total, she was sentenced 36 to 54 years in prison for this specific PDAF case. 

Aside from Napoles, the court also convicted Technology Resource Center (TRC) legislative liaison Belina Concepcion, TRC group manager Rosalinda Lacsamana, and Mylene Encarnacion and Evelyn de Leon, executives of Napoles’ bogus nongovernment organization (NGO). 

Meanwhile, the Court also ordered Napoles and her co-accused to indemnify or compensate the government. For the two graft and malversation cases, Napoles and her co-accused were ordered to pay P7.68 million for each case – or P30.72 million in total for the four cases. 

In convicting Napoles, the Sandiganbayan said there was no evidence that the pork barrel money went to livelihood projects in the areas under Cagas’ jurisdiction as a lawmaker. 

“To date, the funds remain unliquidated or unaccounted without any satisfactory explanation from the concerned public officials and their private cohorts. The local chief executives in the First District of Davao del Sur denied knowing about the programs, much less receiving any benefits therefrom,” the court said.

Napoles remains at the Correctional Institution for Women after her convictions in multiple cases involving the PDAF scam. 


In another decision, however, the Sandiganbayan acquitted Napoles in 16 cases involving the pork barrel scam. Despite this acquittal, Napoles will remain in detention because she was already convicted in other cases related to the PDAF scam.

“Finding Janet Lim Napoles NOT GUILTY in Criminal Case Nos. SB-14-CRM-0267 to 0282 for the failure of the prosecution to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt in all the sixteen (16) charges of violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as amended,” the Court said in its ruling published on May 22.

The court explained that the allegations against Napoles in the cases where she has been acquitted were predicate crimes of plunder in the Ramon Revilla Jr. case where she was already charged and convicted. The term “predicate crime” means a crime is a component of a larger crime.

Meanwhile, the hold departure orders issued against her in relation to the 16 cases were already lifted.

The decision was penned by Associate Justice Geraldine Faith Econg of the Sandiganbayan’s First Division. Meanwhile, Associate Justices Efren dela Cruz, the division chairperson, and Arthur Malabaguio, concurred.

Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Napoles, and their other fellow accused were charged for alleged violation of section 3(3) also of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. The law’s section 3 defines the possible corrupt practices of public officers. 

According to the anti-graft court, the Office of the Ombudsman filed 16 counts of cases in relation to the anti-graft law, and one case for plunder against the respondents in the case.

In different occasions, the Sandiganbayan found Napoles guilty of her alleged crimes. The Court convicted her and Richard Cambe, Revilla’s former staff, of plunder on December 7, 2018. However, the same court moved to acquit Revilla in the case. 

Three years later, in 2021, the anti-graft court also convicted Napoles and former Cagayan de Oro representative Constantino Jaraula of graft and malversation. These cases stemmed from the allegations that they earned at least P20.8 million in kickbacks from the lawmakers’ pork barrel through questionable NGOs.  

The ruling

In its ruling, the court explained that the “crux” or central issue in plunder is the “’combination or series of overt or criminal acts or predicate acts.” The Sandiganbayan added that malversation, bribery, and violation of the anti-graft law could be considered predicate crimes of plunder or could be the basis for the said crime. 

This also means these acts should be established by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt to ensure the conviction of a person in a plunder case. 

“It is, therefore, clear that the legislative intent in passing the law punishing Plunder as a crime is to address the ‘procedural nightmare’ of filing separate charges for the different predicate acts,” the Sandiganbayan explained. 

This means the prosecution can incorporate all the allegations or predicate acts in one plunder case, instead of filing multiple cases before the court, the Sandiganbayan said. 

“Since the predicate acts were already used as [the] basis of the crime of Plunder, then the accused could no longer be charged separately for violation of the Anti-Graft Law,” the anti-graft court added. 

The court added that it is “safe to conclude” that the actions in the 16 cases are based on the predicate acts or component crime in the plunder charge, where Napoles had been convicted. Since the graft cases reached the court, the prosecution used the same evidence against Napoles and her co-accused twice, the Sandiganbayan said. 

In addition, the court said Napoles’ liability could no longer be determined in the graft cases because the offenses were already included in the plunder case, where she was convicted. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI
Avatar photo


Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.