Aguirre: Napoles may be state witness in new, not pending, cases
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II clarified on Wednesday that Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged brains behind the pork barrel scam, could be used as a government witness on new cases that would be filed, not on cases pending before the Sandiganbayan.
A day earlier, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said her office, through the Office of the Special Prosecutor, would block any move by the government to make Napoles a state witness.
Aguirre said the Office of the Ombudsman could oppose a move to make Napoles a government witness only on pending cases.
“I am not referring to those cases. [The cases already pending before the Sandiganbayan] will not be affected if she will become a state witness,” Aguirre explained.
He maintained that it would be up to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to determine who should or should not be admitted to the Witness Protection Program (WPP).
“Even if there is no case yet, we can accept anyone to the WPP as long as he or she complies with the requirements set under the law,” Aguirre pointed out.
Last week, Aguirre met with Stephen David, one of the lawyers of Napoles.
Aguirre said they were waiting for Napoles to issue an affidavit. Following the procedure, he said they would evaluate the affidavit and determine if she would be qualified to be under the WPP.
The government is conducting a reinvestigation on the pork barrel scam.
Aguirre said there was selective justice in the investigation and filing of cases by the previous administration. /atm
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