SC: No bail for Napoles


MANILA — The Supreme Court (SC) denied the motion for reconsideration of Janet Lim-Napoles seeking the reversal of the Sandiganbayan’s dismissal of her bail petition for plunder and other cases against her in connection with the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam.

In a six-page resolution dated Feb. 6, 2018, penned by Associate Justice Andres Reyes Jr. and was concurred in by 10 other justices, the high court affirmed its Nov. 7, 2017 decision which ruled in favor of the assailed rulings of the anti-graft court in October 2015 and March 2016.

The tribunal ruled that Napoles did not present new arguments to warrant a reversal of its earlier ruling and also ruled that Napoles was wrong in invoking the magistrates’ previous resolution absolving former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the plunder case brought against her by the Office of the Ombudsman.

The magistrates reiterated that Napoles’ petition for bail did not “involve an inquiry as to whether there was proof beyond reasonable doubt that Napoles was the main plunderer for whose benefit the ill-gotten wealth was amassed or accumulated.”

“These are matters of defense best left to the discretion of the Sandiganbayan in the resolution of the criminal case. It was sufficient that the denial of her bail application was based on evidence establishing a great presumption of guilt on the part of Napoles,” the high court said.

The SC also said the Sandiganbayan was only required to ascertain “evident proof” that Napoles committed the allegations against her.

Napoles had been taken back to a detention facility in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City after a legal intervention of Solicitor General Jose Calida paved the way for her acquittal by the Court of Appeals in May last year.

She spent only two years at the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City following a guilty verdict meted out on her by a Makati City judge for the serious illegal detention of her cousin Benhur Luy, the primary whistleblower in the scam.

Napoles has previously filed several petitions before the SC seeking to stop her indictment in the PDAF cases, but these were all dismissed.

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