Aguirre: DOJ remains firm in Napoles WPP bid
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II remained unfazed by the Ombudsman’s threat to block the government’s initiative to place under the Witness Protection Program (WPP) the pork barrel queen, Janet Lim-Napoles.
This development came after Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales vows to stop the move to make Napoles a state witness, saying the accused does not fit the criteria to be under the WPP related to the pork barrel scandal.
“It is the right of anybody to do anything as long as it is not against the law,” Aguirre said Monday in a text message to reporters.
Morales maintained that as far as the prosecution panel is concerned, Napoles is far from having the standards of a state witness candidate considering that she is one of the principal accused in the multi-billion peso scam.
Napoles is currently facing plunder, graft and malversation charges before the Sandiganbayan.
“Since the DOJ (Department of Justice) has the exclusive right to put a witness under the Witness Protection Program, we will exercise it if need be,” Aguirre said added.
The Justice secretary added that there is still no jurisprudence yet regarding the issue.
“If you file a case before the DOJ for preliminary investigation, we have the right to determine if one of the respondents will be put under the Witness Protection Program of the DOJ. In the event that they are objecting, then let the court decide,” he added.
The DOJ is reinvestigating the priority development assistance fund scam upon the orders of President Rodrigo Duterte./rga