‘Pork kids’ arraignment, postponed by graft court

By , on October 11, 2014

Shutterstock photo
Shutterstock photo

MANILA, Philippines—The Sandiganbayan on Friday chose to postpone the arraignment of Jo Christine Napoles and James Christopher Napoles, children of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, following an appeal by two for a motion to reconsider the charges against them.

Both Napoles siblings have been indicted for graft for their purported misuse of the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel allotments of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, amounting to P345-million.

Sandiganbayan Third Division clerk of court, Dennis Pulma explained that the court will first have to resolve the motion for reconsideration filed by the Jo Christine and James Christopher Napoles before it could proceed with the arraignment.

“The arraignment scheduled on Oct. 13 would have to be moved to another date until such time that the court is able to rule on the motion for reconsideration,” Pulma told reporters, in reference to the case of the Napoles siblings.

Pulma also clarified that the arraignment of the 11 other individuals charged with graft in the pork barrel case would proceed as scheduled on Monday, October 13, 2014..

The Napoles siblings lead lawyer, Stephen David, stressed that his clients had nothing to do with the alleged funneling of Enrile’s pork barrel to the bogus non-government organizations created by their mother.

“They have no participation (in the alleged scam). In fact, their names and signatures did not appear in the documents, David said; adding that the siblings “were still students during the period when the (alleged crime) transpired.”

In the petition urging the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the Sandiganbayan from hearing the graft cases against them, pork-heirs Jo Christine Napoles and James Christopher Napoles called upon the high court to nullify the charges against them, on the grounds that the Office of the Ombudsman failed to present any real incriminating evidence.

As stated in the petition for reconsideration, the camp of the Napoles siblings believes that testimonies of pork witnesses Benhur Luy, Marina Sula and Merlina Sunas are bereft of credibility as the testimonies are polluted sources and should be viewed with suspicion.”

Thus, the siblings claim that the court was erroneous in issuing its resolution, charging them with 15 counts of graft, and approving warrants for their arrest.

Napoles family at daughter Jeane's (orange dress) birthday party.
Napoles family at daughter Jeane’s (orange dress) birthday party.