BUSINESSWOMAN Janet L. Napoles on Friday appealed her conviction for plunder in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.
In a motion for reconsideration filed before the Sandiganbayan First Division, Ms. Napoles cited the recent acquittal of former Senator Ramon B. Revilla Jr. of plunder charges, saying this “necessarily negated the crime of plunder because there is no main plunderer who amassed the ill-gotten wealth.”
“With the acquittal of Revilla, there is no main plunderer, hence, there is no plunder. Therefore, as a necessary consequence, his co-accused must also be acquitted,” she said.
In the Dec. 7 decision of the Sandiganbayan, Mr. Revilla was acquitted of charges that he gained P224.5 million from the pork barrel scam. However, Mr. Revilla’s former chief-of-staff Richard A. Cambe and Ms. Napoles were sentenced to life imprisonment, having been found “guilty beyond reasonable doubt.”
Ms. Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the pork barrel scam, said the anti-graft court’s decision did not identify the main plunderer between herself and Mr. Cambe. She also noted the crime should have been committed by a public officer for it to be considered plunder.
Ms. Napoles said Mr. Cambe cannot be accused as the main plunderer since the prosecution failed to prove that he took at least P50 million, the minimum amount for a crime to be considered plunder.
“The sole evidence of the prosecution shows that Cambe took only P13,935,000.00 which is way below the threshold of P50 million,” she said.
Ms. Napoles also noted the pork barrel scam whistleblowers and other state witnesses “are not credible enough to establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt.”
“In fact, the admission of the other witnesses that they were coached by the prosecution to corborate the untruthful statements of Benhur Luy should render their testimonies of doubtful veracity,” Ms. Napoles said. — G.M.Cortez