‘Death threats only embolden pork scam probers’


Death threats will not stop government investigators but only embolden them to dig deeper, according to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima for whom a P25-million assassination contract has reportedly been put out to stop the investigation of the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

De Lima said the National Bureau of Investigation was “still validating” the alleged plot to kill her, NBI Director Nonnatus Rojas and Levito Baligod, lawyer for six whistle-blowers in the scam allegedly masterminded by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.

“I can only echo what Director Rojas had already expressed—[the] reported assassination plot, if true, cannot and will not deter us from doing our job,” De Lima said in a text message to reporters on Sunday.

“On the contrary, it can only embolden us to finish the ongoing probe to its logical conclusion, that is, the filing of charges,” she said.

De Lima earlier said the NBI was expected to wrap up soon a substantial part of its investigation of the pork barrel scam.

Three sources—a former Marine officer, an NBI agent and a Philippine National Police official—told the Inquirer last week about the plot to kill De Lima, Rojas and Baligod.

Two teams of former Marines and former militiamen who have become policemen will carry out the hits, the sources said.

The targets include journalists covering the pork barrel scam.

The sources did not say who put out the contract, but they disclosed that among those who had been recruited were former members of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) who took part in the 1989 coup against then President Corazon Aquino.

RAM members felt neglected after the coup failed, but they received help from a fellow putschist, retired Marine Maj. Jaime “Jimmy” Napoles, husband of the alleged pork barrel scam brains.

The former RAM members make up the first team of assassins, the sources said.

On the second team are former militiamen who have become policemen, the sources said.

Intelligence reports about the assassination plot came last week as Napoles and her brother Reynald Lim went into hiding following an order for their arrest from a Makati court in connection with the illegal detention of Benhur Luy, the principal witness in the pork barrel scam.

The NBI and the police have launched a nationwide manhunt for Napoles and Lim.

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