MANILA — The Supreme Court (SC) en banc has granted further the plea of the Sandiganbayan to allow convicted businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles to attend the anti-graft court’s hearings on the plunder cases filed against her.
Napoles is the alleged “brains” behind the PhP10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the PhP900-million Malampaya Fund scams.
The SC allowed the request of Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotage-Tang on May 6, 2015.
The order was issued upon the orders of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. Aranal Sereno since the SC is now on its recess.
In a one page order dated May 11, 2015, signed by Clerk of Court of the SC en banc Atty. Enriqueta E. Vidal, it has given the directive that all the pork barrel scam cases involving Napoles shall be covered by the order.
Originally, it was only the Sandiganbayan Third Division that was covered by the directive that Napoles should be brought to court every time there are hearings.
With the latest SC ruling, the Sandiganbayan First and Fifth Divisions shall be covered by it.
Napoles has pending plunder cases before the Sandiganbayan First, Third and Fifth Divisions.
This means that instead of ordering the Sandiganbayan justices to go to the Correctional Institute for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City, Napoles shall be escorted to the Sandiganbayan during its hearings and Napoles’ appearance is necessary.
“Now, Therefore, authority is hereby Granted to the Sandiganbayan and all its Divisions to issue subpoenas or summons effecting the transfer of accused Janet Lim Napoles from the Correctional Institute of Women in Mandaluyong City to the Sandiganbayan or any of its Divisions whenever her appearance is required in connection with the PDAF cases,” the SC order said.
The Sandiganbayan plea was made after Napoles’ conviction before the Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC) for serious illegal detention, where she was sentenced to reclusion perpetua. As a result, Napoles was moved to the CIW to commence her service of sentence for that conviction.
The Sandiganbayan cited impracticality and reasons of security.
Tang pleaded before the SC for permission to allow Napoles to be brought to the Sandiganbayan on those dates that her bail hearings would be conducted.
The SC en banc said that the plea is reasonable and well taken, hence, the SC granted the prayer.