THE Supreme Court has dismissed the petitions of detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles and three others seeking to stop their plunder trial in the Sandiganbayan, in connection with the irregularities involving implementation of lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Funds.
Besides the petition of detained former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. in his P224-million plunder case, the SC also junked similar petitions of Napoles, Revilla’s former chief of staff Richard Cambe and Napoles’ former employees Ronald John Lim and Raymund De Asis.
SC spokesman Theodore Te confirmed the justices voted 13-1 on Tuesday to dismiss the petition of Revilla for lack of merit and to affirm the finding of probable cause against him by the Office of the Ombudsman.
In a media briefing, Te stressed the tribunal had the same findings on the cases of Napoles, Cambe, Lim and De Asis.
Te said petitioners had commonly assailed the joint resolution dated March 28, 2014 and the joint order dated June 4, 2014 of the Ombudsman finding probable cause to indict them, among others for plunder and 16 counts of violation of section 3 of Republic Act RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Te, citing the SC ruling, said: “The Court found no grave abuse of discretion in the indictments stating that the Ombudsman (and the Sandiganbayan as to petitioners) did not err in finding probable against all the petitioners.
“Their findings are fully supported by the records of this case and semblance of misapprehension taints the same.
“Moreover, this Court cannot tag key documentary evidence as forgeries and bar testimonies as hearsay at this stage of the proceedings; otherwise it would defy established jurisprudential norms followed during the preliminary investigation.”
He added: “The standard of proof is accordingly correlative to what must be proved. Clearly, based on the foregoing disquisitions, the standard of probable cause was adequately hurdled by the prosecution in this case.
“As such, no grave abuse of discretion was committed by the Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan in the proceedings a quo.”