MANILA - The new lawyers of jailed businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles has asked the Sandiganbayan 5th Division to compel the prosecution to specify “authorities” or legal citations that would apply to her plunder case involving the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of former senator Jinggoy Estrada.
The camp of the alleged mastermind of the multibillion-peso PDAF scam has submitted to the anti-graft court an urgent motion to order parties to the case to submit a “memorandum of authorities.”
In a 1989 administrative circular of the Supreme Court under former Chief Justice Marcelo Fernan, it was stated that courts “may require or allow parties to submit their respective memoranda including citation of authorities within a definite date from submission of the case for decision but not exceeding 30 days therefrom.”
“Wherefore, it is respectfully prayed that the parties (prosecution and defense) in this case be ordered to submit simultaneously, their respective memorandum of authorities within three days from receipt of the honorable court,” the counsels of Napoles from Garay, Cruz and Associates said.
The lawyers of Napoles also reiterated in their motion that the prosecution failed to identify a single main plunder, based on the Supreme Court decision on former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
In the Estrada plunder case, also indicted by the Ombudsman were Estrada’s former chief of staff Pauline Labayen as well as Napoles’ cousin John Raymund De Asis.
“Thus the failure of the prosecution to identify accused Estrada in the information as the main plunderer renders the same void because that is one of the essential elements of the crime charged,” Napoles’ lawyers said.
The court has yet to decide on the appeal of Napoles on the denial of her demurrer to evidence for the outright dismissal of her plunder case.
Estrada, Napoles and the other accused are on trial for allegedly pocketing some P183 million in kickbacks from the former lawmaker's discretionary funds through fake projects.