MANILA-- Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Monday clarified that pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles will remain in detention even if she becomes a state witness on the reinvestigation on the planned review of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) cases.
Aguirre said this will not affect her pending plunder cases, which are non-bailable, before before the Sandiganbayan.
The Court of Appeals reversed a Makati City court decision which convicted Napoles and her brother Jojo Lim for serious illegal detention.
Gusto ko linawin akala ng marami si Janet Lim Napoles kung tanggapin ng DOJ o WPP bilang state witness ay siya palalayain hindi po. Hindi maaapektuhan ang mga naka pending mga kaso diyan sa four division ng Sandiganbayan wala po relasyon o hindi maapaektuahn kung siya ay papayagin maging state witness dito sa gagawin reinvestigation of PDAF scam kung kayat ang ganyan mga motibo ay hindi po ito macoconsider dahil wala o hindi ito relevant sa pinaguusapan natin, Aguirre said in a television interview on Monday.
Asked if Napoles could qualify as state witness in the possible cases that could emanate from the reinvestigation, Aguirre stressed that it would depend on what she has to say.
The DOJ Secretary believes that Napoles could be a credible government witness if she would be able to substantiate her testimonies with evidence.
Depende sa sasabihin niyan (It depends on what she says). If coupled with documents then there is no reason why she should not be credible, he pointed out.
The DOJ chief said that while several camps are pushing for Napoles to be state witness, she would have to meet the qualifications set by law - that she should not be the most guilty of the crime and that her testimony must be indispensable for the cases to stand.
He said he could only make an assessment of her eligibility once he reads her sworn statement.
As far I know wala pang gingawa affidavit ang amin lang po dito function sa DOJ tatanggapin lang naming kung may bagong complaint siya imbestigahan under Preliminary investigation, he noted.
Aguirre further pointed out that in cases of plunder or corruption involving a government official and a private individual, the former is considered the most guilty as per the ruling of the Supreme Court (SC).
"Based on a Supreme Court decision, it will be the government official who will be considered as the most guilty, because he is taking advantage of his public position," he explained.
He also revealed that he meet with lawyers of Napoles to discuss her submission of a new affidavit on the PDAF scam, adding that he has already discussed the matter with former Manila Councilor Greco Belgica, an anti-pork barrel advocate who petitioned the Supreme Court to stop the PDAF during the previous administration.
Walang alam ang DOJ lalo na sa mga katotohanan o sa mga kasinungalian ni Janet Lim-Napoles ang sa amin lang po since meron siya abogado at alam ng kanyang abogado ang sasabihin at hindi lang siya pati rin ng ibang tao katulad ni Belica na muing mabuksan ang PDAF scam dahil nagkaroon ng selective justice parang involve dito 120 lawmakers (but) tatlo lang nasama sa demanda as matter of fact dalawa pa dito nakakulong so ano nangyari, Aguirre stressed.
He already met with Belgica and we were planning, we are committed (to ask) Janet Lim-Napoles if she is willing to cooperate.
Belgica was among those who filed a petition asking the SC to declare the PDAF or pork barrel unconstitutional.
In 2013, the high court declared PDAF as unconstitutional.
Source: Philippines News Agency