By Keith Calayag
Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles has asked the Sandiganbayan again to reconsider its decision dated 13 June that denied the outright dismissal of her case.
In a supplemental motion for reconsideration, Napoles’ camp said that the absence of a central public official as main plunderer warrants the dismissal of Napoles’ case.
Her legal counsels pointed out that in order to sustain a conviction for plunder, there must be a single public officer who is identified or identifiable as the main plunderer.
Her camp added that a private person like Napoles cannot be indicted nor convicted of the crime of plunder if the information failed to name the main plunderer or when the prosecution fails to convict the main plunderer.
“All the evidence of the prosecution, taken together as shown herein-above, still fail to identify the main plunderer, an essential element of the crime of plunder as held in the GMA case,” the motion said.
Napoles’ camp is referring to the dismissed plunder case against former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
In the motion for reconsideration filed by Napoles’ camp last June, they invoked the Supreme Court ruling acquitting Arroyo of her P366 million plunder case over alleged irregularities in the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office due to the prosecution’s failure to identify the main plunderer.
Napoles’ legal counsels argued that while the plunder information filed against Napoles identified former Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada as the main plunderer being the custodian of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the prosecution’s 112 witnesses, including main witness Benhur Luy, did not identify Estrada as the main plunderer.
Napoles is accused of providing kickbacks to Estrada in exchange for the allocation of the latter’s PDAF to the former’s fake non-government organizations.
Earlier, the Sandiganbayan acquitted Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla in a similar plunder complaint while it ordered Estrada’s temporary release after the latter posted bail amounting to P1.33 million.
Revilla and Estrada are both central figures in the PDAF scam.
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