Filtered By: News
Detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles and her nephew-turned-accuser Benhur Luy will soon face each other in court.
This was after Sandiganbayan Third Division chairman, Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang on Friday called on the prosecution to speed up the presentation of evidence and witnesses with respect to Napoles’ petition to post bail for her plunder case.
“Under the rules, bail hearing should be summary in nature. That’s why we are asking the prosecution to speed up the presentation of evidence,” Tang said at the continuation of the hearing of Napoles’ petition for bail.
Tang then asked state prosecutor Edwin Gomez on how many more witnesses the prosecution panel intends to present in court, to which, Gomez replied they will next present the last two witnesses, Benhur Luy and Ruby Tuason.
At the start of the hearing, Gomez announced that the prosecution team is terminating its questioning of whistleblower Suñas, who has been testifying against Napoles since February.
On the next hearing set on May 8, it will be the turn of the defense panel to re-cross examine Suñas one last time. Gomez said that if the defense will be able to finish the re-cross examination early in the hearing, the prosecution is ready to present Luy to the court right away.
This will mark the first time that Napoles and her former employee, Luy, will be facing each other in court as both of them were not required to attend the hearings on the serious illegal detention case filed by Luy against Napoles before the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 150.
The last time the two faced each other was in November 2013 during the Senate probe on the pork barrel scam.
Just on Tuesday last week, the Makati RTC found Napoles guilty of serious illegal detention and sentenced her to life imprisonment of up to 40 years.
A day after the Makati court’s ruling, the Third Division ordered the transfer of Napoles from her detention in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig to the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City.
The Third Division held the hearing on Napoles’ bail petition in a makeshift courtroom in CIW on Friday.
Presented by the prosecution during the hearing were three witnesses who testified on the existence and authenticity of original copies of Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs) and endorsement letters pertaining to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile allegedly allocated to fake foundations owned by Napoles.
The witnesses presented by the prosecution and cross-examined by the defense were Department of Agriculture (DA) Office of the Secretary budget officer Thelma Tolentino, DA regional officer Lourdes Plechas and Senate Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office director general Yolanda Doblon.
Gomez said that after the testimony of Luy , the prosecution will decide if it will still present Tuason before the court or formally close the presentation of evidence.
In the earlier testimonies of Suñas and another whistleblower Marina Sula, they said Tuason acted as the agent of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile in transacting with Napoles.
“If we think our evidence is suffice, we will file a manifestation to terminate the presentation of Tuason,” Gomez said.
The hearing of the bail petition of Napoles has been going on since August last year. - JJ, GMA News