By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
January 31, 2013
LOS ANGELES–A federal judge ruled on Monday that there’s not enough evidence to prove that FBI agents paid for and engaged with prostitutes during a sting operation in the Philippines which led to the capture of three Filipinos accused of gun smuggling.
Lawyers for Sergio Syjuco, Cesar Ubaldo, and Arjyl Revereza argued that the international gun smuggling raps filed against their clients should be dismissed after FBI agents allegedly engaged in prostitution while working on the case.
FBI agent Marc Napolitano testified on Friday that he had sex with a woman working at a karaoke bar in Manila using tax payer money for the room, for the cell phone he used to text her and for his plane ticket to go the Philippines. He however denied having paid for sex with the woman.
According to reports from the Los Angeles Times, Napolitano did give the woman about $80 after they had sex, but he said the money was to pay for medicine for her father, who had recently suffered a stroke. He said the woman was one of several karaoke bar workers he communicated with using his government-issued mobile phone while in the Philippines.
Napolitano traveled to Manila several times in 2010 and 2011 while working on cases involving weapons trafficking from the Philippines to the United States. He was posing as a club patron while providing security for another undercover FBI agent.
The three defendants have all pleaded not guilty. If convicted, the will each face up to 20 years in prison.