By Czarina Nicole Ong-Ki
The Office of the Special Prosecutor has been given until Monday to comment on the motions for reconsideration filed by former Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles with regards their demurrer to evidence in their plunder case.
The start of their trial was supposedly scheduled on July 8, but it was reset to August 5 because of their pending motions.
When asked for an update on the MRs, the anti-graft court’s Fifth Division said that the prosecution has been given five working days from July 8 to file their comment.
The separate demurrers to evidence of Estrada and Napoles were already denied on June 13. Estrada tried to reason that the element of “amassing, accumulation of ill-gotten wealth,” which is the gravamen of plunder, was lacking in his case.
Napoles, on the other hand, poked holes at the fact that there was no main plunderer identified by the prosecution.
She added that she could not be the main plunderer since she was not a public official.
Both Estrada and Napoles also questioned the integrity of the prosecution witnesses, particularly whistleblower Benhur Luy.
Estrada, Napoles, his Deputy Chief of Staff Pauline Therese Mary C. Labayen, and John Raymund De Asis were slapped with a violation of Section 2 of R.A. 7080, otherwise known as plunder, because they reportedly pocketed P183,793,750 from Estrada’s priority development assistance fund (PDAF) by endorsing Napoles’ fake non-government organizations (NGOs) back in 2004.