Napoles urged to give testimony before trial begins




MANILA, Philippines – Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago urged Janet Lim-Napoles to give her testimony before the formal trial begins under the “perpetuation of testimony” rule so that evidence will be preserved even if something happens to her.

“Any adverse event could prevent Napoles from fully identifying the senators and congressmen with whom she had PDAF transactions,” Santiago said in a statement Monday.

“For example, any of the suspects could hire operatives to silence her, or she might inflict physical damage on herself. She might contract a life-threatening ailment. For any of these reasons, the Rules of Court allows her to give her testimony well before trial,” she said.

Santiago said that this is allowed as cited in the Rules of Court, Rule 134, entitled “Perpetuation of testimony.”

Napoles is the alleged mastermind of a billion peso pork barrel scam that benefitted from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of lawmakers.

She has been under the custody of the government since surrendering to President Benigno Aquino III last August 28. She is currently detained in Fort Sto Domingo, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF) headquarters and training camp in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

Napoles allegedly has received threats to her life given the crucial information that she has against many people in government.

“If Napoles decides to perpetuate her testimony in order to reduce the level of threats to her security, she has to file a verified petition in court,” Santiago said.

“The court should grant the petition for deposition if the perpetuation of the testimony may prevent a failure or delay of justice,” she said.

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