Napoles asks Sandiganbayan anew to dismiss plunder raps

MANILA � Lawyers for businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles have filed a fresh motion to dismiss one of the plunder charges against her at the Sandiganbayan.

In a statement Friday, lead defense counsel Rony Garay said they are awaiting the anti-graft court's ruling on the motion to dismiss that they have filed last September 5.

"The court is yet to rule on the motion to dismiss which we filed after the court decided on September 3 to turn down the ex parte motion we filed last month," Garay said.

In the motion to dismiss, Napoles through counsels urged the anti-graft court trying her and former Senator Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada to dismiss the plunder complaint against her, claiming that the prosecution's failure to clearly identify a "main plunderer" in the complaint has the effect of voiding the case.

Citing the plunder case of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, which was junked by the Supreme Court, Garay said the requirement "is to specifically and clearly identify the main plunderer and not merely refer to him based on allegations in the information that can be interpreted in so many ways."

Napoles's counsels said if no one is expressly identified in the information as the main plunderer, the case "should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction because the information does not charge the offense of plunder considering that one of the essential elements thereof, which is identifying the mastermind or main plunderer as held in the case of Arroyo vs. Sandiganbayan, is not alleged therein."

"In short, if it is not plunder, then there is no crime charged in the information over which the Honorable court has jurisdiction or over which it can validly exercise jurisdiction," Napoles' counsels said.

The Sandiganbayan 5th Division earlier granted the motion for bail of Estrada using the Arroyo case, saying the information does not name him as the main plunderer.

Aside from Estrada and Napoles, also named in the charge sheet is Pauline Therese Mary C. Labayen, then the lawmaker's Deputy Chief of Staff.

"Where life or liberty is affected by its proceedings, the court must keep strictly within the limits of the law authorizing it to take jurisdiction and to try the case and to render judgment. It cannot pass beyond those limits in any in either stage of these proceedings, and its authority in those particulars is not to be enlarged by any mere inferences from the law or doubtful construction of its terms," Garay said, quoting the SC rulings. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency