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Ombudsman knew Napoles can’t be charged with plunder, but amending case would’ve set Enrile, Revilla, Estrada free – lawyer

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The lawyer of Janet Lim Napoles is claiming that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales knew that her team made a mistake in charging her with plunder, a criminal case exclusively for public officers who amassed ill-gotten wealth.

Lawyer Stephen David said state prosecutors thought about changing the charges against his client but changed their mind because the public might not agree to letting go of then Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla from detention.

“During the start of the case, the Office of the Ombudsman tried to withdraw information to amend it (but she did not) because senators were already detained and amending the information would set them free,” said David in an interview with ANC’s Karen Davila.

David argued that Napoles could not be charged be plunder because she never held any government post.

“She’s not innocent but she’s also not guilty of plunder. It’s up to the court but there is no plunder committed (on her part),” said David.

Prosecutors did attempt to submit an amended information in the cases against Estrada and Revilla but these were denied by the Sandiganbayan. After these two rejections, the prosecutors dropped their plan to amend the Enrile case, which would have made Enrile as the mastermind and Napoles a mere collaborator.

David also noted that the only proof the state prosecution had of Napoles’ participation in the pork barrel scam was the testimony of whistleblower Benhur Luy.