DoJ strips Napoles government protection

The Justice department on Friday informed suspected pork-barrel-scam architect Janet Lim-Napoles of the termination of her provisional coverage under the Witness Protection Program.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he had issued a letter to Napoles “giving notice of the termination of her provisional coverage under the Witness Protection Security and Benefit Program effective 25 May 2018.”

Napoles’ coverage will end today, May 26, three months after since she was admitted to the program on Feb. 27.

Napoles was provisionally admitted to the WPP during the time of Justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II after she issued an affidavit implicating more names in the multi-billion peso Priority Development Assistance Fund scam.

Guevarra said Napoles had requested that she be admitted to the WPP due to the threats to her life. She also sought her transfer from Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig to a secure housing facility of the WPP.

That prompted Napoles to file urgent motions before the Sandiganbayan seeking the transfer of custody to the Justice department’s WPP, but the anti-graft court where she is facing trial for plunder and graft charges denied her motion.

“The main purpose for which Ms. Napoles had sought admission into the WPSBP has become moot and academic,” Guevarra said. 

“As there has been no further claim of threats to her personal security inside Camp Bagong Diwa, [we] found no reason to extend further Ms. Napoles’ provisional coverage under the WPP.”

Napoles’ affidavit reportedly identified a former Cabinet secretary and more senators involved in the pork-barrel scam.

But the Justice department did not release her affidavit due to confidentiality under the WPP law.

Napoles’ lawyer Stephen David earlier said his client was open to becoming a state witness in the new PDAF cases being investigated by the Justice department.

But Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales opposed to the idea, saying Napoles was “one of the principal alleged malefactors” in the scam and was therefore not qualified to become a state witness.

Topics: pork-barrel scam , Janet Lim-Napoles , Witness Protection Program , Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra , Vitaliano Aguirre II

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