Monday, May 22, 2017

Ombudsman requests to turn down Napoles’ SC bail appeal

Prosecutors of the Office of the Ombudsman sought to block Janet Napoles’ bail appeal in her plunder case with former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile as reflected in the comments they forwarded to the Supreme Court (SC).

Their comment explains that Napoles was unable to establish a solid case that would reverse the Sandiganbayan’s denial of her petition for bail.

Napoles’ filed for petition to bail in the Enrile case to the Sandiganbayan Third Division around October 2015, however, her petition was denied after only being granted bail for two out of five petitions. Napoles needs to win five petitions to be granted bail and temporary freedom.

In her most recent bail appeal to the SC, Napoles brought up the same arguments she used during her previous motions in Sandiganbayan and SC:

1. There is no strong evidence that petitioner Napoles conspired with any of the accused to commit the crime of plunder.

2. The people failed to prove the element of "amassing, accumulation or acquisition of ill-gotten wealth" in the amount of at least P50 million, which is the gravamen of the offense of plunder.

Napoles had filed three petitions pertaining to her graft and plunder charges prior, but all of them were dismissed by the High Court.

In the comment submitted by the Ombudsman to the SC, it reads that "The Honorable Court is not a trier of facts. Moreover, a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court determines questions of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction and never questions of facts. As such, the petition must fail.”

"Other than the sweeping averment that the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion in denying her application for bail, Napoles miserably failed to establish the same,” it added.

Napoles is currently being considered to become a state witness to the pork barrel scam issue, but without possessing the authority to turn her into one, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II is, instead, considering admitting Napoles to the Witness Protection Program (WPP).

Only the Ombudsman can recommend to the Sandiganbayan if Napoles is fit to be a state witness. Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales reported that they no intentions of doing so.

Source: Rappler


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