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Malacañang said yesterday that the Office of the Solicitor General is not lawyering for suspected “pork barrel” fund scam mastermind businesswoman Janet L. Napoles.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Solicitor General Jose Calida is only correcting the things that need to be rectified. “He’s not lawyering for Napoles, he’s just trying to correct what he needs to be rectified,” Abella said in a press briefing in Malacañang.
Calida had disclosed that after reviewing evidence, the Makati City Regional Trial Court erred in convicting Napoles for the illegal detention of whistleblower Benhur Luy, Napoles’ cousin and former bookkeeper and personal assistant.
In his manifestation to the Court of Appeals last January 11, Calida said the evidence against Napoles does not support her conviction for serious illegal detention.
Despite the filing of the manifestation being the sole call of the OSG, Abella said the President trusts what his alter egos are doing. “I don’t know if they had a conversation regarding that, but the President trusts his alter ego’s decision,” he said.
Abella clarified that this does not mean that Duterte has changed his stand regarding corruption.
He also said that the plunder case filed against Napoles will not be hampered by any mistrial, particularly for serious illegal detention, since the two are not connected.
“From the SolGen’s point of view, the cases may be intertwined but are not connected. They are not inseparable,” he added.
Napoles was convicted for serious illegal detention and was sentenced to life imprisonment for detaining Luy to prevent him from exposing the pork barrel fund scam.
She is currently serving her sentence at the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City.
(Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)