Counsel claims Napoles ‘not most guilty‘ in plunder

Published March 19, 2018, 5:52 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Czarina Nicole Ong

Stephen David, the lawyer of pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, on Monday, said that his client is not the “most guilty” in the plunder charges filed before the different divisions of the Sandiganbayan.

Pork Barrel scam alledged mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles (Mark Balmores / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
Janet Lim-Napoles

“Plunder can only be committed by a public officer,” David told reporters during an interview.

He acknowledged that the Supreme Court already has resolutions saying that a private person who conspired with a public official can be charged with plunder, but he reasoned that “she’s not the most guilty.”

“She can be charged with plunder as a co-conspirator but not as a mastermind. You have to distinguish [who is] most guilty or second guilty or least guilty. Only the mastermind can be the most guilty; if you’re saying that Napoles is [the] mastermind, then this case shall be dismissed considering she’s a private person,” he said.

David added that Napoles should now be secured in a different housing facility and not Camp Bagong Diwa by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), since she has been placed under the Witness Protection Program (WPP) of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

David added that it is not only the Office of the Special Prosecutor that can dictate who becomes a state witness since everybody has his own opinion. “We respect the opinion of the honorable Ombudsman, but it doesn’t mean na hindi na entitled sa ibang opinion or opposition ang ibang learned na abugado (that other learned lawyers are no longer entitled to their own opinion or opposition),” he said.