Sandigan starts Janet, Gigi plunder trial

Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - January 20, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The trial of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and lawyer Jessica “Gigi” Reyes started yesterday at the Sandiganbayan, 18 months after they were arrested and indicted for plunder.

Napoles’ former property custodian and one of the whistle-blowers in the scam, Marina Sula, was the first witness to testify before the anti-graft court’s Third Division.

Sula, who became president of the Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc., told the court how she helped Napoles put up bogus non-government organizations.

The plunder case against Napoles and Reyes stemmed from their alleged involvement in Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s alleged P172-million kickbacks from the pork barrel scam.

This is the first case to move on to the trial phase since the alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund allocations of lawmakers broke out in 2013.

Sula will continue her testimony today as hearings have been scheduled twice a week to expedite the trial.

Enrile has yet to face trial because of the pending motions he had filed before the Supreme Court, which granted him bail last year.

Sens. Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. are also facing plunder and graft charges in connection with the pork barrel scam.

Estrada and Revilla remain in detention at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center at Camp Crame as the Sandiganbayan has denied their petitions for bail.

CAMP CRAME ESTRADA AND REVILLA JANET LIM-NAPOLES JINGGOY ESTRADA AND RAMON REVILLA JR. JUAN PONCE ENRILE MAGSASAKA FOUNDATION INC MARINA SULA MASAGANANG ANI PARA NAPOLES NAPOLES AND REYES PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE CUSTODIAL CENTER
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