State prosecutors oppose Napoles' appeal on plunder conviction

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 16 2019 01:20 PM | Updated as of Jan 16 2019 01:21 PM

Janet Lim Napoles. File photo

MANILA- Government prosecutors have opposed alleged Priority Development Assistance Fund scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles' appeal on her plunder conviction.

In a “vigorous opposition,” the prosecution led by Deputy Special Prosecutor Manuel Soriano countered Napoles' claim that the Sandiganbayan should have acquitted her because there was no main plunderer in her case involving former senator Bong Revilla.

Napoles was convicted along with Revilla's former chief-of-staff Richard Cambe in the P224-million plunder case, while Revilla was acquitted.

The case involved Revilla's discretionary funds during his time as lawmaker.

“Napoles simply cited a portion of the information and jumped into a mistaken conclusion that she was therein referred to as the main plunderer. Needless to state, the information must be read and calibrated in its entirety and not be myopically construed,” Soriano said.

In her motion for reconsideration, Napoles insisted that she should have been acquitted like Revilla.

In their opposition, the prosecution recognized that the court acquitted Revilla but noted that it also found that Cambe had amassed P124.5 million.

“At this juncture, we need not belabor the issue on whether or not the money intended for Revilla was actually received by him. The court has spoken and it has acquitted Revilla of the crime charged,” Soriano said. 

The prosecution also countered the attack of Napoles on the credibility of witnesses led by whistle blower Benhur Luy, as well as the supposed recantation by witnesses Marina Sula and Mary Arlene Baltazar.

“While it is true that Napoles endeavored to question the veracity of the testimonies of the whistle blowers, the reason advanced in an effort to case doubts on the credibility of said witnesses, is insufficient to overcome the value or weight of their testimonies which are properly confirmed by the documentary and circumstantial evidence adduced by the prosecution in this case,” Soriano said.