In a resolution promulgated on Nov. 13, the court’s Fifth Division said Napoles and Valdez failed to raise any new argument in their motions for reconsideration that would compel it to reverse its Aug. 28 ruling denying their demurrer
The STAR/ FIle
Sandigan junks Napoles, ex-lawmaker’s motions
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - November 29, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan has upheld its earlier ruling denying the respective demurrer to evidence of detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles and former congressman Edgar Valdez seeking the dismissal of their plunder case in connection with the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.

In a resolution promulgated on Nov. 13, the court’s Fifth Division said Napoles and Valdez failed to raise any new argument in their motions for reconsideration that would compel it to reverse its Aug. 28 ruling denying their demurrer.

“As the Court sees it, the other issues raised are nothing but mere replications of the arguments stated in the respective demurrers to evidence of Valdez and Napoles. These issues have already been meticulously discussed in our resolution dated Aug. 28, 2019... It would be a useless ritual for the Court to reiterate itself,” the Fifth Division said.

The Fifth Division, in its Aug. 28 resolution, said the prosecution panel of the Office of the Ombudsman was able to present sufficient evidence against Valdez and Napoles, which, if unrebutted, is strong enough to convict them of plunder.

Filed by the ombudsman in February 2015, the case stemmed from the alleged misuse of Valdez’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel from 2004 to 2010 during his term as representative of the party-list group Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC).

Valdez allegedly received P57.78 million worth of kickbacks from Napoles in exchange for allocating his PDAF to the latter’s bogus nongovernment organizations (NGOs) for the supposed implementation of livelihood projects.

The ombudsman said the projects turned out to be fictitious or were never implemented.

Valdez and Napoles were granted bail by the Fifth Division in April 2016. 

Valdez had earlier posted P1.71-million bail for his provisional liberty. Napoles, however, remains in detention at the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City following her previous conviction of plunder in connection with the misuse of the PDAF of re-elected Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr.

Napoles is also named as co-accused in the plunder cases former senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada and former Masbate congresswoman Rizalina Seachon-Lanete.

In its new ruling, the Fifth Division maintained that Napoles’ participation in the alleged crime was clearly established by the prosecution through its pieces of evidence showing that she exercised control over the Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc., Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc. and Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation Inc. – the three NGOs through which Valdez’s PDAF was coursed.

“These purported bogus NGOs were formed by Napoles to serve as the apparent recipients of Valdez’s PDAF. Otherwise stated, the NGOs are formed by Napoles as mere instruments for the entire scheme, and the commissions/kickbacks would be channeled through these Napoles- formed NGOs for the benefit of Valdez,” the Fifth Division said.

“These foundations are conduits for the release of the disputed PDAF of congressman Valdez,” it added.

The resolution was penned by Associate Justice Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega with the concurrence of Associate Justices Rafael Lagos and Maryann Corpus-Mañalac.

EDGAR VALDEZ FIFTH DIVISION NAPOLES SANDIGANBAYAN
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with