SC junks Napoles, Reyes petitions

THE Supreme Court (SC) junked Tuesday the petitions filed by Janet Napoles and lawyer Jessica Lucila "Gigi" Reyes seeking to stop the Sandiganbayan from proceeding with the plunder cases filed against them.

Voting 13-0, the court dismissed the petition for an urgent motion to suspend proceedings filed by the two petitioners for lack of merit.

It also affirmed the assailed orders of the Office of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan.

"The court found that neither the ombudsman nor the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion in finding the probable cause to charge Petitioners and to order their arrest," the decision states.

The two justices who took no part in the voting were Associate Justice Arturo Brion who is on leave and Associate Justice Francis Jardaleza for his previous action as a Solicitor General.

Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the P10-billion pork barrel scam, on June 16, 2014 asked three divisions of the Sandiganbayan to suspend the proceedings against her and defer the issuance of warrants for her arrest.

In motions submitted to the first, third and fifth divisions of the anti-graft court, Napoles' lawyers said the plunder charges filed against her were without basis since she was a private citizen and there was no proof that she conspired with government officials to commit the crime.

Meanwhile, Reyes, former chief of staff of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, filed an urgent motion to suspend proceedings last January 5.

Reyes argued that the Sandiganbayan should not proceed with the trial— at least until the Supreme Court (SC) rules on her petition to have the cases against her dismissed. (Sunnex)







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