Sandigan clears Napoles in 16 graft raps
Posted: 2023-May-23 08.38.26 UTC+0800
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MANILA – The Sandiganbayan anti-graft court on Monday cleared businesswoman Janet Napoles in 16 graft charges arising from multibillion-peso "pork barrel" dealings tied with the office of Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr.
However, a decision promulgated on May 19 by the Second Division convicted Napoles of two counts of graft and two counts of malversation over the misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund, otherwise known as pork barrel.
She was sentenced to up 10 years for each graft count and a maximum 17 years for each count of malversation.
Napoles will also pay fines of P7.68 million for each graft charge and P7.68 million for each malversation charge.
She was already found guilty in the separate charge of plunder in 2019 for her part in the misuse of Revilla's legislative funds and will remain detained.
"Judgment is hereby rendered finding Janet Lim Napoles not guilty for failure of the prosecution to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt in all 16 charges of violation of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act," the court said in a 223-page decision.
"The alleged acts are predicate crimes of plunder under which she has already been previously charged and convicted."
Aside from Napoles, likewise cleared were former National Livelihood Development Corporation president Gondelina Amata, Ofelia Ordoñez, Sofia Cruz, Evelyn Sugcang, Francisco Figura, Rosalinda Lacsamana, Marivic Jover, Consuelo Lilian Espiritu, Victor Roman Cacal and Maria Ninez Guanizo.
The cases against Revilla and former Budget undersecretary for operations Mario Relampagos and employees Rosario Nuñez, Lalaine Paule, Marilou Bare, Encarnita Munsod, and Chita Jalandoni were earlier dismissed for insufficiency of evidence.
Revilla was cleared of all criminal cases related to the plunder case in 2021 because his "endorsement of the Napoles-associated non-governmental organizations were merely recommendatory," the ruling stated.
On the same year, the Supreme Court rejected Napoles' plea to be released on humanitarian grounds due to the Covid-19 pandemic. (PNA)