Napoles cleared in 16 graft cases

Pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles has been cleared in 16 graft cases related to the multi-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF scam.

Napoles’ acquittal in the case, the anti-graft court’s First Division states, was a result of the prosecution’s failure to prove her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The court ruled that the alleged acts against the businesswoman were predicate crimes of plunder in the case of her then co-accused, Senator Bong Revilla, under which she has already been previously charged and convicted.

Revilla, who was accused of funneling his P224 million pork barrel to bogus foundations of Napoles, first walked free from graft raps in 2021, similarly to the insufficient proof.

Plunder cases against the senator were also junked by the anti-graft court in 2018.

Despite graft acquittal, however, the Sandiganbayan’s decision did not open the door for Napoles to be released.

In a separate decision, Napoles faces another graft and malversation charge related to the infamous pork barrel scam, resulting in her remaining in detention.

Along with four others, Napoles was found guilty of two counts of graft and two counts of malversation charges over the misused of P15.36 million PDAF of the late then-Davao lawmaker Douglas Cagas in 2007.

Imprisonment of another six to ten years for each count of graft was sentenced to Napoles, while a maximum of 17 years for each count of malversation.

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