Napoles lawyer: Janet to tag officials ‘higher than lawmakers’

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MANILA, Philippines – Janet Lim-Napoles is set to identify all the government officials involved in the pork barrel fund scam, her lawyer revealed yesterday.

Stephen David said Napoles is willing to cooperate in the reinvestigation of the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) anomaly.

“Of course, there will be more officials,” David told reporters after a closed-door meeting with Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.

David said Napoles might come up with another list of politicians who benefitted from the pork barrel, which he claimed would be longer than the list she earlier submitted to the DOJ.

He hinted the list would also include an official in the previous administration “higher than lawmakers.”

“If she will become state witness, she should tell everything she knows… whoever is involved should really be exposed. Whatever the truth is, it should come out. Because the truth will set you free,” he said.

David, however, refused to name the high official, saying it might preempt the statement to be submitted by Napoles.

David said he had a meeting with Aguirre to discuss the possibility of Napoles becoming a state witness as well as her inclusion in the witness protection program.

David stressed the safety of his client was under threat.

“We are requesting, on our part, that she should be given a proper security should this proposition push through,” he said.

David added there were instances last February when Napoles’ personal belongings were ransacked.

“There were instances whien her belongings were scattered inside her cell as if looking for something and almost every night she started feeling uneasy for she felt someone is intently watching her,” David said.

David said Napoles is also receiving written threats from unknown individuals.

He said the threats against Napoles turned serious when the government declared the possibility of taking her as state witness in the PDAF scam.

Though he has no direct proof, David believes the threats came from “former and current high-ranking public officials who have the capability and capacity to consummate the threats.”

“These are the public officials who want Mrs. Napoles to keep silent and not expose her knowledge on the issues,” he said.

Blackmail

Aguirre, on the other hand, said he supports the bid of Napoles to transfer custody.

“I’m talking to NBI officials on the possibility if Napoles could still be accommodated in the NBI, in view of the continued threats against her,” Aguirre told a press conference later in the afternoon.

Aguirre said he agrees with the position of Napoles’ camp that she should no longer stay at the Correctional Institute for Women (CIW) following her recent acquittal in the serious illegal detention case by the Court of Appeals.

“Now that she’s no longer a convict, she should no longer stay in a Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) facility. The facility for her should be for detention prisoners only,” he said.

Aguirre revealed the BuCor has filed a manifestation before the Sandiganbayan, where Napoles is facing non-bailable plunder and graft cases over the pork barrel scam, seeking clarification on her detention in the CIW.

In the same press conference, Aguirre said he received information that Napoles is receiving threats and has been “blackmailed” by a certain group that is holding her brother Reynald “Jojo” Lim.

“That brother of hers is being held so that Janet will not speak,” he said.

Asked which group he was referring to, Aguirre replied: “You all know which group it is.”

Aguirre said it appeared that Lim was used to “blackmail” his sister in the PDAF cases during the previous administration.

Lim was a co-accused of Napoles in the serious illegal detention case filed by whistle-blower Benhur Luy.

Lim, however, remained in hiding and authorities have yet to determine his whereabouts.

Aguirre earlier revealed the reinvestigation would look into the mystery behind the surrender of Napoles to then president Benigno Aquino III in August 2013.

When Napoles was tagged as the brains behind the scam, she surrendered to Malacañang accompanied by then Interior secretary Manuel Roxas II before she was brought to the custody of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Camp Crame.

David filed a motion before the Sandiganbayan seeking her transfer from the CIW to the NBI or the PNP custodial center.

Napoles is currently detained on non-bailable offenses of plunder and graft before the Sandiganbayan, though she was recently acquitted by the Court of Appeals on the serious illegal detention case.

David recalled the possibility of Napoles becoming state witness was already raised before the Office of the Ombudsman during the previous administration.

It was only after her acquittal in the serious illegal detention case when the government took interest in the pork barrel case, he said.

“We already had talks before, but it did not push through because there were allies of the previous administration,” David said.

David explained Napoles could qualify as state witness in the plunder cases.

“The case of plunder is a crime committed by a public officer. It just so happened that there are private individuals involved in the conspiracy. In that case, they cannot be considered as most guilty,” he argued.

This supported the earlier statement of Aguirre that in cases of plunder or corruption involving a government official and a private individual, the former is considered the most guilty per ruling of the Supreme Court.  – With Elizabeth Marcelo

 (The Philippine Star)

NOTE: On national radio, in an interview, the Napoles lawyer named former Budget Secretary Butch Abad as among the high officials involved in the PHP 10 Bilion Pork Barrel Fund Scam. Napoles previously testified that it was Abad who “TAUGHT” her how to navigate the Pork Barrel system through the setting up of CONDUIT cooperatives, companies and corporations.

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