DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Two Makabayan bloc lawmakers expressed dismay on the acquittal of “Pork Barrel Queen” Janet Napoles in the illegal detention case filed by Benhur Luy.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, in a statement on Monday, said he was “gravely dismayed” on the ruling issued by the Court of Appeals.
Zarate said he was appalled with the CA ruling as it was done months after Solicitor General Jose Calida recommended the acquittal of Napoles in Luy illegal detention case.
“We must be very wary of this development because as things stand now many of those who have been charged of plundering the people’s coffers are getting off the hook. Dapat na magbantay at sabayan ng protesta ng taong bayan ang mga pangyayaring ito,” he said.
On May 5, the Court of Appeals, in its 35-page decision, has found “reasonable doubt” to acquit Napoles in connection with the illegal detention case filed by her former aide Benhur Luy. The CA decision has reversed the Makati RTC ruling which found Napoles guilty.
“We hold that the evidence against [Napoles] is not sufficient to establish her participation or culpability in the alleged criminal conspiracy. The prosecution has not discharged its burden of proof in establishing the commission of the crime charged and in identifying [Napoles] as the malefactor responsible for it,” the CA decision read penned by Associate Justice Normandie Pizarro.
Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao also criticized the CA decision as a “step backward against fight versus corruption” and the fight against corruption has been compromised.
“The public should not be frustrated by this, instead it should invigorate them to continuously expose and oppose this maneuver by those who are behind the pillage of gov’t funds to evade accountability,” Casilao said. “We are concern that this will affect the plunder charge faced by Napoles with regards to the pork barrel scam case”. (davaotoday.com)