Plunder case violates Constitutional rights -- Napoles camp

August 20, 2019

THE camp of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles yesterday said the plunder charges against her violates her Constitutional rights since there is no longer a central “main plunderer” as required by law.

In an urgent ex-parte motion , Napoles’ counsels said: ”(b)ecause of the failure of the prosecution to allege in the information who is the main plunderer in this case, the Constitutional right of accused Napoles to be informed of the nature and cause of accusation against her has been violated as she is prevented from adequately preparing for her defense.”

In urging the Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division to direct the parties to submit a “memorandum of authorities,” Napoles’ lawyers led by Atty. Rony Garay stressed the Constitutional right of the accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against her was violated.

Napoles’s counsel said  she is now being accused under a void information because at the time of the filing of the case in 2014, the Supreme Court has not yet imposed, by interpreting Republic Act (R.A.) 7080, the identification of a main plunderer as one of the essential elements of the crime of plunder.

It was only in 2016 that the SC, in the case of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo vs. People of the Philippines and the Sandiganbayan (First Division), instructed that the identification of a main plunderer in the information is an essential element of the crime.

“It is humbly submitted that a Demurrer to Evidence filed in this case is one of the tools available under the Rules of Court that is designed to protect and advance the constitutional right of the accused to speedy disposition of their criminal case because “ As a general rule, an order granting the accused’s demurrer to evidence amounts to an acquittal,”Napoles’ motion read.

“This is especially true, when after more than five (5) years, it would appear that according to the sentiment of accused Napoles, she is being prosecuted under a void Information,” it added. 

The motion stressed that at stake is Napoles’ right to due process and right to be presumed innocent. The next scheduled hearing of Napoles’ plunder case is on September 9.