Sandiganbayan grants bail to Napoles, Masbate governor

MANILA, Philippines - The Sandiganbayan's Fourth Division of the anti-graft court has granted businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles and Masbate Governor Rizalina Seachon-Lanete to post bail for the controversial plunder case in connection with the alleged misuse of the lawmaker's Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Janet Napoles, the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind.
Janet Napoles, the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind. Photo Credit to the owner.
“Wherefore, considering that there is a finding that the evidence of guilt of accused Lanete and accused Napoles is not strong for the reasons cited above, the respective applications for bail of accused Lanete and Napoles are hereby granted,” the ruling read as shared by GMA News Online.

The accused fixed the bail at P500,000 for each of them.

Napoles and Lanete are both facing plunder and graft cases for the latter's alleged misuse of her PDAF during her term as Masbate representative from 2007 to 2009. According to reports, Lanete allotted her PDAF to fake non-government organizations created by Napoles.

Lanete was jailed since February 2015 at the Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City while Napoles was detained in the same jail in April 2015.

Lanete is expected to be released from jail soon after she completed other requirements but Napoles, due to reclusion perpetua as sentenced by the Makati Regional Trial Court for the illegal detention case filed by her second cousin Benhur Luy would have to remain in jail.

On the other hand, the First Division and Fifth Division of Sandiganbayan have denied her petition to post bail for the other plunder case involving Sen. Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. and Sen. Jinggoy Estrada.

While graft is a bailable offense, the plunder case is non-bailable if the prosecution would be able to prove that the evidence of guilt against an accused is strong.

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