SC upholds indictment of Napoles’ staff for plunder and graft

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 16 2018 04:13 PM | Updated as of Nov 16 2018 06:22 PM

MANILA- The Supreme Court (SC) has upheld the indictment of a staff of Janet Lim Napoles for plunder and graft due to his participation in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.
 
In an 8-page ruling dated Nov. 6, 2018, the SC dismissed Ronald John Lim’s petition which questioned the Ombudsman’s decision to file charges of plunder and violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against him along with Napoles, former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and other accused.
 
The Court said Lim “miserably failed to show” that the Ombudsman gravely abused its discretion.
 
It also noted that Lim’s arguments and his participation in the PDAF scam had been addressed in an earlier SC ruling involving former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr.
 
In the 2016 Cambe v. Ombudsman ruling, the high court sided with the Ombudsman’s findings that Lim was among Napoles' staff who prepared and delivered kickbacks intended for Revilla, based on the testimonies of whistleblowers Benhur Luy and Merlina Suñas.
 
“We are inclined to do no less in the present case. We recognize that the acts in Cambe, which related to the illegal pillaging of public funds sourced from the PDAF of then-Senator Ramon Revilla, Jr., occurred within the same timeline as the acts in the present case,” the Court said.
 
The Court also noted that Lim’s failure to file a counter-affidavit before the Ombudsman operated as a waiver of his right. 
 
Lim is co-accused in the plunder and graft cases against former Senators Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada, and Juan Ponce Enrile.
 
The Sandiganbayan is set to rule on Revilla’s plunder case on Dec. 7, 2018.

Erratum: An earlier version of this story cited "Robert" as name of accused, based on an erroneous press release from the SC Public Information Office. The actual resolution named the accused as "Ronald John Lim."