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Sandiganbayan convicts Napoles, Revilla’s aide over PDAF scam, orders return of P124.5M

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

The anti-graft court on Friday convicted businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles over the multi-billion pork barrel scam.

The decision came following the acquittal of former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. who was found not guilty by the Sandiganbayan fifth division.

In its verdict, the anti-graft court’s special panel found Napoles guilty of plunder for amassing more than P224-million worth of kickbacks using Revilla’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allotment. Also convicted during Friday’s promulgation was Revilla’s former chief-of-staff Richard Cambe.

“In the light of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered finding Richard A. Cambe and Janet Lim Napoles guilt beyond reasonable doubt of plunder,” the court’s verdict read.

Both Napoles and Cambe were sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua or up to 40-years imprisonment.

Following their conviction, Cambe will be brought at the national penitentiary inside the New Bilibid Prison compound in Muntinlupa City while Napoles will head back to her prison cell inside the Women’s Correctional in Mandaluyong City.

Last June, witness Marina Sula backtracked on her previous testimony against Revilla, claiming she was just coached by government prosecutors to affirm the earlier statements of Pork Barrel scam whistle-blower and star witness Benhur Luy.

Sula now stressed that it was Luy who perpetrated the forged signatures of Revilla and conspired with Cambe in the released of endorsement letters for PDAF funded bogus non-government organizations staged by Napoles.

Meanwhile, Napoles and Cambe were also ordered by the anti-graft to return to the National Treasury the amount of P124.5 million pursuant to Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code.

The said amount the was supposed kickbacks earned by the Cambe and Napoles during the period of their supposed transactions.