pork barrel scam

SC upholds Sandiganbayan’s grant of bail to Napoles, ex-Masbate lawmaker


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SC upholds Sandiganbayan’s grant of bail to Napoles, ex-Masbate lawmaker


The High Court says the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division did not commit grave abuse of discretion when it granted the bail applications of former Masbate congresswoman Rizalina Lanete and Janet Napoles to in relation to their PDAF scam-linked plunder cases

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court has affirmed the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan’s grant of bail to former Masbate 3rd District representative Rizalina Seachon-Lanete and businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles in their plunder cases linked to the Priority Development Assistance (PDAF) or pork barrel scam.     

The High Court upheld the resolutions of the Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division granting Lanete’s and Napoles’ applications for bail,dated April 12, 2016 and February 13, 2017.

In denying the petition filed by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) of the Ombudsman seeking to reverse the anti-graft court’s resolutions, the Court ruled that the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division did not commit any grave abuse of discretion in allowing Lanete and Napoles to post bail.

The Court said that the OSP, for the purpose of the bail hearings, failed to present evidence to that the threshold amount of P50 million was reached.     

“Failure to reach the said amount is fatal because it is a crucial element in the crime of Plunder. Any proof that there was an accumulation of ill-gotten wealth, but in an amount less than P50,000,000.00, means that the accused committed a crime other than the crime of Plunder,” the SC said.

“Verily, the Court concludes that the OSP failed to prove that there exists evident guilt or a great presumption of guilt that would warrant the denial of Napoles and Lanete’s right to bail,” the Court added.     

The SC stressed that the ruling is only on the existence of grave abuse of discretion in relation to the Sandiganbayan’s bail hearings. The OSP may still present evidence to support its plunder case against Lanete and Napoles.   

 “This ruling is without prejudice to the OSP’s right to present additional evidence during the trial proper of this case to prove beyond reasonable doubt the existence of all the elements of the crime of plunder,” the Court said.

Lanete was released after completing the procedure for posting bail in 2016. Napoles remained in jail as she was already convicted in other cases related to the PDAF scam. – Rappler.com  

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