SolGen defense of Napoles uncommon, but not irregular - law dean

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 16 2017 08:15 AM | Updated as of Feb 16 2017 08:26 AM

Businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles. Rem Zamora, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - There is no irregularity in the Office of the Solicitor General's shocking declaration that a local court had erred in convicting accused pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles of illegally detaining whistle-blower Benhur Luy, a member of the academe asserted Thursday.

Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, dean of the San Beda Graduate School of Law, explained that though it is rare for the OSG to take a position adverse to state clients and prosecutors, it cannot be deemed irregular.

"It can happen and it has happened in the past na iyung Solicitor General mismo, sinasang-ayunan niya ang apela ng isang convicted accused so that the appellate court would be convinced to reverse the trial court [ruling]," Aquino told radio DZMM. "It's not a common thing but it's not irregular."

Solicitor General Jose Calida on Wednesday said the Makati Regional Trial Court "erred" in convicting Napoles and recommended the latter's acquittal before the Court of Appeals.

Aquino said it is understandable that Calida prioritized Napoles's appeal despite the sheer number of similar cases -- an average of 30,000 every year -- that reaches his office.

"Talagang very interesting, sabihin na lang natin, na they took the time to prepare this... But again, criminal cases are treated especially because of the urgency of the nature of the criminal case. You don't want a person to be detained for too long kung hindi naman talaga dapat," he said.

(It's really very interesting, let's just say, that they they took the time to prepare this... But again, criminal cases are treated especially because of the urgency of the nature of the criminal case. You don't want a person to be detained for too long if they don't really need to be.)

The law expert added that Calida's defense of Napoles is unlikely to have an impact on her other pork barrel cases pending before the Sandiganbayan.

"Kasi kahit mapawang-sala ka sa isang kaso, that won't necessarily mean you're acquitted in another case because there may be strong evidence against you in the other case," he said.

(Even if you're acquitted in one case, that won't necessarily mean you're acquitted in another case because there may be strong evidence against you in the other case.)