“This plea is in light with the development of her entire cases which greatly affect her life and security. Her cases are considered high-profile due to involvement of high-ranking public officials,” Napoles’ motion, filed before the Sandiganbayan First Division, read.
Joven Cagande, Boy Santos
Janet Napoles wants out of Correctional; Bong Revilla won’t pay P124 million
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - December 11, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Citing threats to her life, convicted businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles has asked the Sandiganbayan to allow her to remain at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) Female Dormitory at Camp Bagong, Diwa in Taguig while she appeals her conviction for plunder in connection with the pork barrel scam.

“This plea is in light with the development of her entire cases which greatly affect her life and security. Her cases are considered high-profile due to involvement of high-ranking public officials,” Napoles’ motion, filed before the Sandiganbayan First Division, read.

On Friday last week, the Special First Division convicted Napoles of plunder in connection with the alleged misuse of about P517 million in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel of former senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.

Convicted with Napoles was Revilla’s former staff member Richard Cambe. 

Revilla, the primary accused in the case, was acquitted with the three magistrates ruling that “not a single evidence” was presented by the Office of the Ombudsman’s prosecution panel to prove that he received rebates, commissions or kickbacks for the allocation of his PDAF to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) owned by Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the pork scam.

Following Napoles and Cambe’s conviction, the First Division on Friday afternoon ordered their transfer of detention to the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City and New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City, respectively.

It was in May 2017 when Napoles was brought the to BJMP Female Dormitory in Camp Bagong Diwa from CIW after she was acquitted by the Court of Appeals of an illegal detention case filed by her former employee and relative Benhur Luy, the star witness in the pork scam.

Cambe, meanwhile, has been detained with Revilla at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame since the filing of plunder and graft cases by the Office of the Ombudsman in June 2014.

In her motion, Napoles, through her lawyers, said she will be filing a motion for reconsideration on her conviction.

Napoles said that while she is appealing her conviction, the First Division must allow her to remain at Camp Bagong Diwa as it is a more secured facility.

“Moreover, her transfer from Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Camp Bagong Diwa to Correctional Institution for Women, Mandaluyong City poses grave threats to her life and security,” Napoles’ motion read.

“It must be stressed that during accused’s previous detention at the Correctional Institution… she had already experienced these threats to her life and security,” it added.

Napoles is also named as co-accused in the plunder cases of former senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile still in connection with the pork barrel scam.

She is also facing 194 criminal cases as co-accused in the P900-million Malampaya fund scam filed by the ombudsman in December 2017.

Fund return

Former senator Revilla is not liable to return any portion of the P124.5 million in public funds found by the Sandiganbayan to have been illegally amassed in connection with the pork barrel scam, one of his lawyers said.

“He (Revilla) has no obligation under the (Sandiganbayan) judgment to return anything. How can he be held civilly liable if he was not found criminally liable? The finding of the court is he did not receive any of the alleged kickbacks or commissions,” Ramon Esguerra told The STAR.

Esguerra said their team would no longer seek a clarification from the Sandiganbayan First Division concerning the dispositive portion of its decision wherein it was declared that “accused are solidarily and jointly liable to return to the National Treasury the amount of one hundred twenty-four million, five hundred thround pesos (P124,500,000.00).”

“After reading the decision, it has been clear to us (Revilla’s legal team) that only Richard Cambe and Janet Napoles were ordered to return the amount because they were the only ones held criminally liable,” Esguerra said.

“The very article of the Revised Penal Code cited, Article 100, was explicitly referred to in the last portion of the judgment’s dispositive portion. There is nothing to clarify as far as we are concerned. The decision is clear enough,” he added.

On Friday, the Sandiganbayan Special First Division acquitted Revilla of plunder but convicted his co-accused Cambe and Napoles.

Cambe and Napoles were were sentenced to reclusion perpetua or a minimum of 20 years to a maximum of 40 years in prison.

The 186-page decision, penned by Associate Justice Geraldine Faith Econg, did not clarify whether it was only Napoles and Cambe who should return the P124.5 million or if Revilla is equally liable to pay.

The dispositive portion of the decision, however, stated that the return of the money was “pursuant to Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code.”

Article 100 of the RPC states that “every person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable.”

It was not stated in the same law whether a person cleared of criminal liability can no longer be held for civil liability.

Asked if Revilla would return the amount, Esguerra told The STAR: “He will not.”

In a chance interview with reporters on Friday, Econg admitted that it was not specified in the decision who among the three “accused” must return the amount, thus the defense or the prosecution’s camp may file a motion for clarification.

She refused to answer why the decision did not make a categorical prouncement.

Aside from Econg, those who voted for Revilla’s acquittal were Associate Justices Edgardo Caldona and Georgina Dumpit-Hidalgo while Associate Justices Efren de la Cruz and Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta voted for conviction.

In her dissenting opinion released on Friday, Estoesta interpreted the majority’s decision as holding Revilla liable for the return of the P124.5 million.

“Oddly, while the majority opinion thrived on speculating whether the ‘various sums of money deposited in the accounts of Revilla as found by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) are the very same money from Napoles’, it did not extricate Revilla from the civil liability found for all accused in the re-computed amount of P124,500,000.00 which they should answer for in a joint and several capacity,” Estoesta said. –  With Alexis Romero

JANET LIM-NAPOLES PRIORITY DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE FUND RAMON “BONG” REVILLA JR.
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