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Lawyer: Napoles to name 'higher' officials involved in pork barrel scam

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 11) — In a meeting with Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Thursday, the lawyer of Janet Lim Napoles said she is willing to name more lawmakers involved in the pork barrel scam.

Napoles' lawyer Stephen David said the alleged pork barrel ringleader will also divulge allies of the previous administration whose names she withheld before.

When asked by reporters if Napoles would name only lawmakers, David said, "Even higher pa siyempre. Kung sino involved dapat ma-ano talaga (Of course even higher. Those involved should really be named)."

He said there is also the possibility that Napoles will include the President and the Vice President.

"Co-equal yun. Ang President, executive at legislative. Co-equal 'yun. Walang mas mataas sa mga 'yun," David said.

[Translation: They are co-equal. The President, executive and legislative. No one is above them.]

David said the idea of Napoles being a state witness was broached during the time of former President Benigno Aquino III, but the suggestion did not prosper.

"Kasi nga merong mga allies sila na noon apektado, kaya hindi na itinuloy," he said.

[Translation: Because they have allies that would be affected, that's why it did not push through.]

David met with Aguirre to discuss the possibility of turning Napoles into a state witness, following her acquittal from her serious illegal detention case on May 8.

In a media briefing on Thursday, Aguirre said the Justice Department will open an investigation on the pork barrel scam.

"To utilize Janet Napoles as state witness…you should not appear to be the most guilty, and 'yung ite-testify mo, ikaw lang yung makakapag-testify (and you should be the only one who could testify to what you would say)," Aguirre said.

The Justice Secretary said there is no set date yet when Napoles will file her new affidavit.

While Napoles has been cleared of her serious illegal detention charges, she is still facing plunder, graft, malversation, and direct bribery charges of former congressmen in connection to the pork barrel scam.

David expressed their camp's concern over the safety and security of his client, stemming from the death threats Napoles had been receiving.

"Ako naman, on our part, we're requesting that she be given proper security kung sakaling matuloy propositions na 'yun," he said.

[Translation: On our part, we're requesting that she be given proper security should the propositions push through.]

In her letter to Aguirre, Napoles explained threats against her became serious when news emerged that she may be used a state witness.

She said former and current high-ranking officials want her to remain silent.

"'Yung death threats issue sila nakakaalam nun eh. Hindi nila dini-disclose sa akin kung sino nananakot sa kanila, pero marami," David said.

[Translation: They're the ones who know about the issue on death threats. They do not disclose to me who is threatening them, but there are many.]

Aguirre said the death threats are holding back Napoles from divulging information.

"Actually, kaya lang naman hindi nagsasalita si Janet Napoles gawa ng talagang nag-aalala siya na 'pag magsalita na siya, lalong magiging endangered 'yung kaniyang life," Aguirre said.

[Translation: Actually, Janet Napoles is not talking because she is worried that when she talks, her life will be put into more danger.]

He added Napoles should now be transferred elsewhere from the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) facilities, as she has already been acquitted in her serious illegal detention case.

"Ngayon, since siya'y hindi na convicted gawa ng na-acquit na siya, hindi na dapat siya nakakulong sa BuCor facilities…lahat ng cases niya, pending sa Sandigan[bayan]," Aguirre said.

[Translation: Now that she's already acquitted, she should not be detained at the BuCor facilities…all of her cases are pending at the Sandiganbayan.]

The Justice Secretary added BuCor Director Benjamin Delos Santos already filed a manifestation before the Sandiganbayan inquiring where Napoles should be detained.

"I'm manifesting, and I told this to Atty. Stephen, that I'm going to talk with the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) officials of the possibility if Ms. Napoles could still be accommodated in the NBI," Aguirre said.

He added they are also looking into the possibility that a public official may have instigated Napoles into committing the crime.

CNN Philippines' Correspondent Anjo Alimario and Digital Producer Ver Marcelo contributed to this reported.

Lawyer: Napoles to name 'higher' officials involved in pork barrel scam Lawyer: Napoles to name 'higher' officials involved in pork barrel scam Reviewed by AsianPolicy.Press on 2:08:00 AM Rating: 5

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