Extra cost of Napoles detention worth it, says De Lima
MANILA, Philippineds—Why is the government still keeping Janet Lim-Napoles in a special detention facility in Laguna despite the added cost to taxpayers?
According to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, the government was willing to shoulder the extra cost of keeping Napoles, the main suspect in the P10-billion pork barrel scam, at the special facility in Fort Sto. Domingo in Santa Rosa City because it was still hopeful she would tell all.
De Lima said the cost of keeping Napoles in the facility in Sta. Rosa was secondary to finding out the whole truth about the racket that defrauded mostly farmers of billions of pesos’ worth of livelihood programs and infrastructure, and fattened the pockets of Napoles, some lawmakers and government officials.
De Lima said Napoles needs to be secured from any harm until she decides to talk and point to the lawmakers who dealt directly with her.
Napoles is accused of funneling lawmakers’ pork barrel funds to fake nongovernment organizations. Whistle-blowers claim she would then hand lawmakers a big part of the cash and keep some for herself.
“The opportunity that she might tell all in the near future might go to waste,” De Lima said in Friday’s Senate hearing on the scam.
“Perhaps, that the government is spending money to secure her would only be a secondary consideration to the ultimate end that through Mrs. Napoles, we will know the whole truth,” De Lima added.
De Lima was responding to Sen. Francis Escudero’s suggestion that Napoles be transferred to a regular jail since she has yet to indicate any intention to turn on the politicians that allowed their Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF or pork barrel) to be funneled into her fake nongovernment organizations.
Escudero believes transferring Napoles to a jail alongside other suspected criminals would force her to testify on all that she knows.
“I just find it difficult to swallow the situation right now that she’s not saying anything. She’s not admitting anything and we are spending quite a sum whenever she leaves detention, and yet we are not getting anything out of it really,” Escudero said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.