Napoles dared: Return wealth from pork scam
Detained Sen. Leila de Lima on Thursday dared alleged “pork barrel” scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles to return the ill-gotten wealth she illegally acquired from her shady deals with lawmakers involving the misuse of their Priority Development Assistance Fund.
De Lima made the call after Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II sought to make Napoles a state witness in the multibillion-peso scam.
“Mr. Aguirre is making a tempting offer for Napoles that is too hard to resist—that is to tell everything she knows against the expanded list of suspects in the pork barrel fund scam in exchange of her security, survival or political concessions,” she said.
“If this government really sees her as a credible state witness because it thinks she is a ‘minimal player’ in the multibillion pork barrel fund scandal, I challenge Napoles to return the wealth she has acquired from all her illegal transactions,” she said.
Meanwhile, Napoles’ detention at Camp Bagong Diwa has become more certain on Thursday after the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division ruled to keep her in the custody of the detention facility in Taguig City.
The order of the Fifth Division came on the heels of the Monday resolutions issued by the First and Third Divisions.
The Fifth Division was the last of the three divisions to issue a commitment order in Napoles’ pending plunder cases.
Its decision to echo the two other courts’ orders erases doubt on where Napoles should be detained amid her request to be transferred to the National Bureau of Investigation custodial center instead.
“Considering that the First and Third Divisions of this Court had already ordered the issuance of commitment orders … for the same reasons cited by the said divisions, let a similar commitment order be issued in these cases,” read the minute resolution.
The Fifth Division, which handles the P183.8-million plunder case against former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, was actually the first to hear the motions on Friday. But instead of resolving the matter right away, it first ordered the prosecution to reply to Napoles’ request by Monday.
It was overtaken by the First and Third Divisions’ orders on Monday morning and afternoon to deny Napoles’ motion over the lack of evidence that she would be safer in the NBI facility.
The divisions handle the P224.5-million and P172.8-million cases of former Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile.
By Monday evening, the Sandiganbayan sheriff’s office served the first two commitment orders on the Correctional Institute for Women, which delivered Napoles to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology facility in Taguig City before sunrise on Tuesday.