MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday announced a P10-million reward for information leading to the arrest of fugitive Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged brains behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
“P10 million is the reward for any information leading to the arrest of Ms. Napoles,” Aquino told reporters in the wake of a mammoth protest demanding for the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
The President made the announcement over state-run dzRB radio on the sidelines of the 8th East Asia Conference on Competition Law and Policy at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel in Pasay City.
On Napoles’ brother, Reynald Lim, the bounty for his arrest has yet to be discussed, Aquino said.
The two went into hiding before authorities could serve the arrest warrants on them on August 15 in connection with the alleged kidnapping of Napoles’ aide and cousin Benhur Luy.
Luy and other former staff of Napoles blew the whistle on the conversion of P10 billion in lawmakers’ PDAF into kickbacks by Napoles and her company using dummy foundations, bogus beneficiaries and forged signatures of officials.
Aquino also warned people aiding Napoles evade the authorities.
“Harboring of a fugitive is a crime; obstruction of justice is a crime,” he said, but expressed confidence authorities would collar her soon.
Hundreds of thousands of enraged Filipinos gathered at Luneta Park on Monday to voice outrage at the graft-tainted fund. It was largest demonstration since Aquino was elected in 2010 on a platform to fight corruption.
The social media-fuelled rally dubbed the “Million People March” was emulated on a smaller-scale in other cities across the country and in various cities around the world where there are concentrations of Filipinos.