MANILA — Suspected pork barrel scam brains Janet Lim Napoles has asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the plunder and graft charges filed against her by the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged anomalous use of former Masbate Rep. and now Masbate Gov. Rizalina Seachon Lanete’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) worth Php 112.29 million from 2007-2009.
Napoles was tagged as the “brains” behind the Php10-billion pork barrel and the Php900-million Malampaya Fund scams.
In her petition for certiorari, Napoles asked the SC to nullify the joint resolution and joint order of the Ombudsman dated Sept. 26, 2014 and Nov. 26, 2014, respectively.
The Ombudsman rulings pertain to the finding of probable cause to indict Napoles and Lanete for the crime of plunder and for 11 counts of violation of Republic Act No. 3019, or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.”
Napoles, through her counsel, Atty. Stephen David, also asked the SC to quash the information filed against her before the Sandiganbayan; to recall the warrants of arrest issued by the Sandiganbayan against her and to dismiss the said cases.
She argued that the Ombudsman committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing the assailed resolution and order notwithstanding that “the complaints clearly failed to allege and substantiate” the elements for the crime of plunder and for the violation of Anti-Graft Law.
“The respondent, Office of the Ombudsman, committed grave abuse of discretion…in finding probable cause notwithstanding the glaring insufficiency of the allegations in the complaints, which failed to establish a pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme of conspiracy,” the petition said.
The petitioner added that the Ombudsman pursued the complaints based on “hearsay, self-serving and totally inadmissible evidence.”
Napoles also believed that the Ombudsman has failed to establish enough basis to prove the conspiracy in the commission of the alleged crime.
“The rule requires that there must be independent evidence aside from the extrajudicial confession to prove conspiracy. However in the instant case, aside from the extrajudicial declaration of the alleged conspirator, no other evidence was submitted to establish the participation of the petitioner,” the petition said.
Napoles further said that since there was “no admissible and competent evidence to support a finding of probable cause” for the crimes allegedly committed, the complaints filed by the National Bureau of Investigation and the anti-graft body’s Field Investigation Office should have been dismissed outright.
However, Napoles said that the Ombudsman “gave in to public opinion and completely disregarded all the rules on appreciation of evidence” in resolving the case.
Lanete earlier filed a separate petition before the SC questioning the same rulings of the Ombudsman.