The government’s lawyer is of the opinion that Janet Lim Napoles who is now at the Correctional Institute for Women, serving a 40-year sentence for illegally detaining her nephew, must be acquitted.
Solicitor General Jose Calida said Wednesday he had reviewed the merits of the case against Napoles, the alleged mastermind behind the pork barrel scam, and became convinced that Makati Judge Elmo Alameda erred in convicting her.
The evidence, the transcript of records, would show instances that would support her acquittal, he said. For instance, the nephew, Benhur Luy, was not restrained and was in fact able to see his family three times during his supposed captivity.
“It is up to the justices of the CA to assess the weight of our pleading... modesty aside, the OSG is considered as the 16th justice of the Supreme Court because we are partners with the judiciary,” Calida added.
It is his duty to see to it that justice is served to everybody, Calida said, notwithstanding the personalities involved in the case. He says he is duty bound to state the facts and not send an innocent person to the gallows.
Calida, however, denied that he was acting upon instructions of President Rodrigo Duterte and said those who believed so had fertile minds. “It is fiction,” he said, noting that the illegal detention case was in no way connected to the immensely bigger pork barrel scandal.
Numerous government officials from various political parties were named by Luy and other witnesses as having benefitted from Napoles’ elaborate scheme.
The presidential legal counsel, Salvador Panelo, says the Palace supports Calida’s move unless independent entities can show he is wrong even as he insisted that the President leaves its departments alone.
We have to admit to having fertile minds, as well.
When Filipinos hear “Napoles,” the first thing that comes to mind is not “illegal detention” but “pork barrel.” We recall her evasive way of answering questions, saying she does not recall even the most basic or obvious events or circumstances. We recall being aghast at claims she was “friends” with many—too many, it seems—public officials that all of them are scared at the prospect of her naming names. We remember her demeanor at the trial.
We are not sorry for our active imagination. While the plunder cases have yet to be resolved, Napoles has come to stand for impunity, audacity and entitlement—the enabler of greed among those who profess to serve the people but in reality serve only themselves.
And since the solicitor general is the government’s lawyer, what he does is what the government stands for. Shall we really allow this government to tell us that Napoles is an aggrieved party? Shall we not, instead, protest and retch at this ignominy?