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Court upholds Napoles' plunder conviction

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Court upholds Napoles' plunder conviction
In this photo taken on Dec. 7, 2018, businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles attended the promulgation of the Ombudsman prosecutors' plunder case against her, former Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and his aide, Richard Cambe.
The STAR / Boy Santos

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has upheld its conviction of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles and Richard Cambe, forme aide to former Sen. Ramob Revilla Jr., for plunder through the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam.

The anti-graft court’s First Division junked Napoles’ motion for reconsideration due to lack of merit, the STAR reported.

Napoles assailed the anti-graft court’s ruling promulgated on Dec. 7, 2018 that convicted her and Cambe guilty of plunder. The court acquitted Revilla of the same charge due to the prosecution’s failure to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Napoles had argued in her appeal that she could not be the main plunderer in the case as she is a private individual.

READ: Court convicts Napoles, Revilla’s aide in plunder case while boss goes free

“Without the determination on who the main plunderer is, the crime committed could not be plunder,” the court, explaining Napoles’ motion for reconsideration, said.

The plunder law or Republic Act 7080 defines the crime as when “any public officer who, by himself or in connivance with members of his family, relatives by affinity...amasses, accumulates or acquires ill-gotten wealth through a combination or series of over or criminal acts... in the aggregate amount or total value of at least P50 million.”

The case alleged that Revilla’s Priority Development Assistance Fund was used for fictitious organizations.

Napoles, Cambe are main plunderers

But the Sandiganbayan said that while there was no sufficient proof against Revilla, it found “overwhelming evidence” to show Cambe—a government official at the time—and Napoles as the “main plunderers in this case.”

“Both testimonial and documentary evidence presented by the prosecution proved the involvement and authorship of the scam by Cambe and Napoles,” the ruling written by Associate Justice Geraldine Faith Econg read.

The court held: “In sum, the totality of the evidence is sufficient to establish the guilt beyond reasonable doubt of Cambe and Napoles, and for this, the present Motion for Reconsideration must fail.”

The court sentenced Napoles and Cambe to reclusion perpetua or up to 40 years in prison. — Kristine Joy Patag with reports from The STAR/Elizabeth Marcelo

BONG REVILLA

JANET LIM NAPOLES

PORK BARREL SCAM

RICHARD CAMBE

SANDIGANBAYAN

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