THE Sandiganbayan First Division has affirmed the conviction of Janet Lim Napoles for the misuse of the P224.5-million Priority Development Assistance Fund of former senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.
In a resolution dated March 13, the anti-graft court affirmed its ruling that Ms. Napoles is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of plunder and sentenced to reclusion perpetua.
“Wherefore, in light of all the foregoing, this Court denies the Motion for Reconsideration of accused Janet Lim Napoles for lack of merit,” the resolution stated.
Also “found guilty beyond reasonable doubt” and sentenced to life imprisonment was Richard A. Cambe, former chief of staff of Mr. Revilla who was released last December after his acquittal from plunder. The case stemmed from the multi-billion pork barrel scam exposed in 2013 in which Mr. Revilla and two other senators were implicated.
The resolution stated, “Napoles cites several grounds for the reversal of the said Decision, first of which is that she, being a private individual, could not be the main plunderer.”
It added, “At the same time, Napoles avers that while the prosecution’s evidence points to Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. as the main plunderer, the assailed Decision allegedly does not identify who the main plunderer is. Without a determination on who the main plunderer is, the crime committed could not be plunder.”
“The Information clearly specifies that both Revilla and Cambe, as the public officers are being charged as main plunderers, together with accused private individual and movant Janet Lim Napoles.”“While the Court did not find sufficient evidence for the pronouncement of guilt on the part of Revilla, there is overwhelming evidence presented to show that his co-accused-movant Janet Lim Napoles are the main plunderers in this case.”“A conspiracy between Cambe and Luy, to the exclusion of Napoles, could not be possible, because the NGOs, through which the funds were diverted, were all creations of Napoles. Napoles has control of the bank accounts of these NGOs.”
“Napoles has control of the bank accounts of these NGOs. In fact, every time a big withdrawal is made from these bank accounts, it was Napoles whom the bank calls to verify or confirm the withdrawals, instead of the NGO’s president or officers.”“It is clear that in the act of amassing and accumulation of ill-gotten wealth, Cambe did not act alone. He had a private individual, accused-movant Napoles, who not just aided him but was one in his design to amass and accumulate ill-gotten wealth and performed the necessary acts to fulfill the evil design of plunder.” — VACF