February 13 ------ Businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles finally appeared before the Sandiganbayan Third Division to sign the pre-trial order for her graft and plunder trial with former senator Juan Ponce Enrile. Napoles has failed to appear before the anti-graft court since Jan. 29, when she was supposed to sign the pre-trial order. So on Tuesday, the Third Division justices summoned officials from the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) to explain her continued absence.
Jail Senior Inspector Jane Bautista and Senior Superintendent Cecilia Villanueva from the Correctional Institute for Women (CIW) said Napoles was unable to attend because of her health condition, since she has high blood sugar. While Napoles finally showed up and signed the pre-trial order, Third Division Clerk of Court and lawyer Dennis Pulma said her lawyers have yet to provide them with her medical records to prove her history of high blood sugar that kept her from appearing at scheduled hearings.
Since the pre-trial order has already been signed, the court scheduled the graft trial to start on Feb. 26 and every succeeding Tuesday and Wednesday thereafter. On the other hand, their plunder trial was scheduled to resume on Feb. 18 and every Tuesday and Thursday thereafter. Enrile is facing one plunder and 15 graft charges for the reported misuse of his priority development assistance fund (PDAF), which he allegedly endorsed to the bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) owned by Napoles in exchange for kickbacks.
Enrile and Napoles are facing the charges together with his former chief of staff, Jessica “Gigi” Reyes, who is still detained at the Taguig City Jail of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) at Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig. Meanwhile, Napoles has been transferred to New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City after she was found guilty of plunder in the case filed against Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., who has already been acquitted.