- Court of Appeals ordered acquittal of pork barrel scam mastermind in serious illegal detention case
- It reversed regional trial court’s ruling, cited reasonable doubt in acquittal
- Benhur Luy’s camp saddened by development, to study other options
MANILA, Philippines – The 12th Division of the Court of Appeals acquitted pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles in the serious illegal detention case filed against her by cousin Benhur Luy.
Citing reasonable doubt, the appellate court overturned the Makati Regional Trial Court’s April 2015 ruling which found her guilty of the offense and sentenced her to reclusion perpetua.
Luy’s counsel layer Raji Mendoza lamented the reversal and said they are still studying their next move.
“We are saddened by this recent development. Moving forward, we are still studying our options,” he told CNN Philippines.
Earlier in February, Solicitor General Jose Calida recommended Napoles’s acquittal as the evidence showed that Luy had never been detained against his will during his three-month stay at a retreat house and then at his cousin’s residence.
According to Calida, Luy never mentioned he was detained to his family during the three times they visited him, had access to a cellphone, and was able to go in and out of the retreat house several times.
The Solicitor General also pointed out that Luy insisted he had not been kidnapped when the authorities rescued him in March 2013.
“It is my well-considered opinion, as well as the opinion of my assistant solicitor generals, that the Regional Trial Court erred in convicting Janet Napoles for the crime of serious illegal detention under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code,” he said.
Napoles, one of the main accused in the multi-billion pork barrel scam, is still facing a string of non-bailable cases.