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Duterte supports Napoles' acquittal in illegal detention case

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 10) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday expressed his support for the acquittal of alleged pork scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles in her illegal detention case.

"As a former prosecutor, I cannot think of how a person could be a victim of being hostage when he had, all the while, all the opportunity to go out and never come back, and he was allowed to go home," Duterte said at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 prior to his departure for a six-day visit to Cambodia, Hong Kong, and China.

Duterte questioned the motive behind the supposed captive Benhur Luy, who is Napoles' second cousin and the whistleblower in the pork barrel scam.

"It was I think, no offense intended, sadya na ano, sadyang nagpa-preso (he intended to be detained)….There were several instances that had he really wanted to be free he could have done it in several instances," Duterte said.

Napoles was convicted by the Makati Regional Trial Court in April 2015 and was sentenced to life in prison for illegally detaining Luy in a retreat house and at her home from December 2012 to March 2013.

She was acquitted of the crime on May 8 by the Court of Appeals due to reasonable doubt.

Napoles as state witness
While Napoles had been acquitted for her serious illegal detention charges, she is still facing raps connected to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said they are considering Napoles as a state witness on the PDAF scam if she is willing to cooperate.

While Duterte avoided to comment on the matter as he could be held liable for contempt in a pending case, he said according to the law, "one of the requirements [is] at least she appears to be the least guilty. If you are a major player, I don't know if you can do it."

"There is no other witness to prove your case, that's one. Second is that the proposed witness must appear to be the least guilty," he said.

By Ver Marcelo, CNN Philippines

Duterte supports Napoles' acquittal in illegal detention case Duterte supports Napoles' acquittal in illegal detention case Reviewed by AsianPolicy.Press on 1:57:00 AM Rating: 5

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