DOJ: Napoles no longer under WPP
The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday announced that principal accused in the pork barrel scam Janet Lim Napoles is no longer under the Witness Protection Program (WPP).
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he already issued a letter to Napoles “giving notice of the termination of her provisional coverage, under the Witness Protection Security and Benefit Program (WPSBP) effective 25 May 2018.”
Napoles’ coverage will expire on May 26 after three months since she was admitted to the program last Feb. 27.
Napoles was provisionally admitted to the WPP during the term of then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II after she executed an affidavit that implicated more names in the multi-billion peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.
Under Republic Act 6981 (Witness Protection Act), before a person is admitted into the WPP, he or she shall execute a sworn statement describing in detail the manner in which the offense was committed and his or her participation therein.
Guevarra said Napoles had requested that she be admitted into the WPP due to threats to her life. She also sought her transfer from Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig to a secure housing facility of the WPP.
Napoles also filed urgent motions for transfer of custody to the DOJ’s WPP before the First, Third and Fifth Divisions of the Sandiganbayan where she is facing a string of plunder and graft charges. However, all the Sandiganbayan Divisions have denied her motion.
“The main purpose for which Ms. Napoles had sought admission into the WPSBP has become moot and academic. As there has been no further claim of threats to her personal security inside Camp Bagong Diwa, (we) found no reason to extend further Ms. Napoles’ provisional coverage under the WPP,” Guevarra said.
Napoles’ affidavit reportedly identified a former cabinet secretary and more senators involved in the scam.
The DOJ, however, did not release her affidavit due to confidentiality under the WPP law.
Napoles’ lawyer Stephen David earlier said that his client is open to becoming a state witness in the new PDAF cases being investigated by the DOJ.
But Ombudsman Conchita Carpio – Morales rejected such a possibility, saying Napoles is “one of the principal alleged malefactors” in the scam and is therefore not qualified to become state witness. /muf
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