Manila- Janet Lim Napoles has been dismissed by the Court of Appeals in her illegal detention. However she still have to face her Plunder case which is non-bailable offence with the pork barrel scam.
Under noynoy administration, Janet went to Malacanang and talked to Noynoy one on one without any media. Justice Sec. Aguirre adds that his department will respect the CA’s decision as they believed that have basis.
The CA said that the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the crime was committed. It said there was no substantial proof that Luy was held against his will at the “Bahay ni San Jose” retreat house when Napoles’ brother Reynaldo “Jojo”Lim approached priests and suggested Luy’s spiritual renewal.
Bahay ni San Jose is said to be owned by Napoles, but the prosecution also failed to show evidences and proofs that she owned the retreat house located in Magallanes Village, Makati City.
“Benhur was neither belligerent about the idea nor showed any actions to indicate that he was coerced or forced to undergo the same. Instead, Benhur attended mass every night with the priests residing in Bahay ni San Jose,” the CA justices said.
Secondly, the CA also pointed out that during Luy’s stay at the retreat house, he never made an attempt to escape or tell anyone about his situation.
“It is quite baffling how someone who was illegally detained would not mention such fact to several priests he sees on a daily basis,” the CA said.
He also updated his family from time to time but never mentioned his forced detention.
Thirdly, Luy’s actions during the rescue operation negates the allegation that he was detained against his will. It never shows
During the trial, Luy had said that he thought the rescue operatives were hired by Napoles to kill him, thus he resisted.
But the CA said, “We find this allegation flimsy and too convenient to warrant appreciation” because when the rescue team from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) entered the condominium units in South Gardens, they were accompanied by Luy’s brother Arthur. The operatives also introduced themselves to be from the NBI.
The CA also added that unlike the Makati court, it did not find the phrases made by Napoles to Luy
“hindi ka na makakalabas” and “ikulong na yan” as clear statements and “could have different meaning or interpretation depending on the context on when it was uttered.”
The CA also said that the prosecution failed to establish the allegations of conspiracy between siblings Janet and Jojo to commit the alleged crime.
“Thus, the oft-repeated truism that the conviction of the accused must rest not on the weakness of the defense but on the strength of the prosecution must be applied in the present appeal. The constitutionality guaranteed presumption of innocence must prevail,” the CA justices also said.
Detention orders remain
Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang said the court’s earlier rulings ordering Napoles’ detention for plunder cases shall stand despite her acquittal by the CA.
“The commitment orders of the Sandiganbayan against her stand because they were issued in connection with the cases pending before the Sandiganbayan. These orders constitute the legal bases for her continued detention,” Tang said in a text message to reporters.
“The Court needs to issue another order designating her new place of detention because that earlier order to detain her at BJMP was superseded in light of her supervening conviction then,” Tang explained.
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