A former party-list congressman and convicted pork-barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles will have to undergo a full trial for plunder after the Sandiganbayan denied their plea that the case be dismissed outright because of the “weak evidence” against them.
The anti-graft court’s ‘s Fifth Division junked the separate motions for leave of court to file demurrer to evidence of APEC Party-list Rep. Edgar Valdez and Napoles.
In an order dated Aug. 28 but made available only on Tuesday, the court said the motions were denied after the prosecution had established the validity of the plunder charges with the amount involved allegedly reached over P50 million.
Republic Act 7080 or the Plunder Law provides that plunder is committed when a public officer amasses ill-gotten wealth of at least P50 million by an act or series of overt criminal acts that may constitute different offenses.
Valdez was charged with plunder, a no-bail offense, before the anti-graft court for allegedly receiving P57.78 million in kickbacks from his pork barrel fund siphoned to the Napoles-linked foundations in 2004 until 2010.
“Valdez and Napoles hypothesize in their respective motions that the jurisdictional amount of P50,000,000 for the crime of plunder to prosper was not established by the prosecution,” the resolution written by Associate Justice Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega said.
“The arguments [of Valdez and Napoles] are unpersuasive,” the court added.
Napoles earlier said the prosecution had no proof the crime of plunder even existed.
She has said “the lack of a main plunderer deprived her the chance to properly defend herself.”