MANILA (UPDATE) – The Sandiganbayan has granted the bail plea of dismissed Masbate Gov. Rizalina Seachon-Lañete and alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.
Lañete is one of the lawmakers accused in the P10 billion pork barrel scam. She is expected to post bail today, and may be released from Camp Bagong Diwa.
The Sandiganbayan 4th Division allowed Napoles and Lañete to post P500,000 bail each for temporary liberty while their plunder case is being heard.
Lañete was earlier indicted by the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly pocketing P112.9 million from her pork barrel allocation while she was a member of the House of Representatives from 2007 to 2010.
Lañete and Napoles both pleaded not guilty to the plunder and graft cases.
Laeñete will still run for reelection in the May 2016 elections despite the Ombudsman’s order to dismiss her from service after finding sufficient evidence over her purported misuse of pork barrel funds.
The Palace “noted” the Sandiganbayan division’s ruling, but it said that Napoles cannot go out of jail because she was convicted for illegally detaining her former aide, pork barrel whistleblower Benhur Luy, and has pending cases before the other divisions of the anti-graft court.
“We note the resolution of the Sandiganbayan in granting bail to Ms. Napoles, being a separate branch of government under the Judiciary. However, it should be emphasized that Ms. Napoles was convicted in April 2015 by the Makati RTC for serious illegal detention. Accordingly, she cannot be released due to such conviction and the several other cases for plunder pending against her,” said Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.