By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan
MANILA, Feb. 21 (PNA) — The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday junked the petition of Janet Lim Napoles and two others seeking to dismiss raps against them for violation of the Anti-Graft Law and malversation of public funds filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in connection to the alleged misuse of over PHP25-million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of former Agusan del Sur Representative Rodolfo Plaza.
”The Court dismissed the petitions for certiorari and upheld the issuance of the September 26, 2014 joint resolution and November 26, 2014 joint order,” SC spokesman Theodore Te said after the directive was issued following Tuesday’s regular en banc session of the magistrates.
In affirming the Ombudsman’s finding of probable cause, the high court reiterated its deference to the Ombudsman’s performance of its duty.
The SC added that there is no proof that the Ombudsman has abused its discretion in filing the case at the Sandiganbayan.
“Petitioners’ contentions that the absence of the elements of the crimes they were charged with is a matter of defense to be ventilated at the trial as these are evidentiary matters requiring a full-blown and not during preliminary investigation,” the high court said.
Aside from Napoles, the high court also dismissed the petition filed her driver John Raymund De Asis and National Agri-Business Corporation (NABCOR) President Alan Javellana.
The three are facing a case for malversation of public funds, corruption of public officials and violation of the Anti-Graft Law.
The Court also disagreed with the contentions of Napoles and De Asis that they could not be charged as they were private individuals and not public officers.
The Court pointed to the policy of the state, expressed in RA 3019 to repress acts of public officers and private individuals that constitute graft and corruption or may lead thereto.
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