SUSPECTED pork barrel scam architect Janet Lim-Napoles is ready to name more government officials involved in the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam, her lawyer said Thursday.
“Of course there will be more officials,” said lawyer Stephen David, who emerged from a closed-door meeting with Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.
David said Napoles is willing to cooperate with the Justice Department’s reinvestigation of the multi-billion-peso pork barrel fund anomaly, and submit a longer list of politicians who benefited from it.
He hinted that this would include officials from the previous administration with positions “higher than lawmakers.”
“If she will become state witness, she should tell everything she knows... Whoever is involved should really be exposed,” the lawyer said.
Aguirre said the reinvestigation would look into why Napoles went to the Palace to surrender, and why she was accompanied by President Benigno Aquino III and then Interior secretary Manuel Roxas II to police headquarters in Camp Crame.
David said he discussed the possibility of Napoles becoming a state witness, and added that they were concerned about security.
“We are requesting, on our part, that she should be given a proper security should this propositions push through,” he said.
The lawyer has filed a motion before the Sandiganbayan, where Napoles is facing plunder and graft cases, seeking her transfer from the Correctional Institute for Women to the National Bureau of Investigation or the Philippine National Police custodial center following her acquittal in the serious illegal detention case by the Court of Appeals.
Aguirre supported Napoles’ transfer and said he immediately asked the NBI to find a detention facility at its Manila headquarters.
“I’m talking to NBI officials on the possibility of Napoles [being] accommodated in the NBI, in view of the continued threats against her,” Aguirre told reporters after meeting with David.
David recalled that the possibility of Napoles becoming state witness was already raised before the Office of the Ombudsman during the previous administration.
“We already had talks before, but it did not push through because there were allies of the previous administration,” he said.
David also said 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 said.
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, according to a ruling of the Supreme Court.
Senator Francis Escudero said it was apparent that the Duterte administration was training its guns on Aquino and Roxas with its plan to make Napoles a state witness.
Escudero noted the previous administration focused only on its enemies in the pork barrel investigation. He said he hoped this would not be the case under Duterte.
“Whether allies or rivals, they should look at it,” Escudero said.
He said he was for a reinvestigation because of the P14 billion in diverted pork, only P6 billion went to bogus organizations operated by Napoles.
“Are we going to forget the P6 billion or P8 billion?” Escudero said.
He also wanted to know what happened to the others named by Napoles.
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