Heavily guarded by Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) personnel, Napoles appeared before the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division for her arraignment for 97 counts of graft and another 97 counts of the complex crime of malversation of public funds through falsification of public documents.
Boy Santos
Napoles refuses to enter plea in P900-M Malampaya raps
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - April 23, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged brains of the multibillion-peso pork barrel fund scam, has refused to enter a plea for her 194 criminal cases in connection with an equally controversial scam involving the alleged misuse of P900-million proceeds from the Malampaya natural gas project.

Heavily guarded by Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) personnel, Napoles appeared before the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division for her arraignment for 97 counts of graft and another 97 counts of the complex crime of malversation of public funds through falsification of public documents.

“I refuse to enter any plea, your honor,” Napoles told the three magistrates of the Third Division after the charge sheets were read before her by the clerk of court. 

The court, in turn, entered a “not guilty” plea on her behalf in accordance with the rules of procedure. 

Napoles was immediately escorted out of the Sandiganbayan building after her arraignment. She was transported back to the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City, where is she currently detained following her conviction of plunder in connection with the pork barrel scam.

Meanwhile, the arraignment of Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., the primary accused in the Malampaya cases, did not push through yesterday as the Third Division has yet to resolve his motion for reconsideration seeking the reversal of the court’s March 6 ruling denying his motion to quash the cases.

The court reset Andaya’s arraignment to May 31.

Filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in December 2017, the cases stemmed from the alleged misuse of P900 million worth of government income from the Malampaya natural gas project intended for farmers affected by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, which hit the country in late 2009.

Andaya is accused of conspiring with other government officials in allegedly funneling the P900-million fund to bogus non-government organizations owned by Napoles for supposed livelihood projects that were never implemented.

JANET LIM-NAPOLES
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