MANILA, Philippines – An alliance of religious groups in the country said Friday that businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the P10-billion “pork barrel” scam, did not deserve immunity and should not be tapped as state witness.
Sister Mary John Mananzan, co-chair of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines, said Napoles should be prosecuted rather than be considered a state witness in the massive corruption of the pork barrel, formally known as the Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF.
“I am glad that she surrendered. But excuse me! I don’t want her to be a state witness. She does not deserve immunity,” said Mananzan in an interview over Church-run Radio Veritas.
After a couple of weeks of being hunted down by the National Bureau of Investigation, Napoles supposedly voluntarily surrendered to President Benigno Aquino III, who personally escorted her to the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
On Thursday, Aquino said the “hunt for the truth” in the pork barrel scam involving some senators and members of the House of Representatives has begun following Napoles’ surrender.
As to the possibility of Napoles turning state witness, Aquino said he has to wait for the recommendation of the Department of Justice.
Meanwhile, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo warned against efforts to divert the public’s attention to Napoles’ case from the real issue, which was the need to completely abolish the pork barrel system.
“The real issue here is not about Napoles but about the pork barrel and the lawmakers who are traitors of the country,” said Pabillo.