MANILA The relatives of pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, who were indicted for allegedly conspiring to illegally transmit Philippine government funds worth USD20 million to the United States, are still in the country, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Friday.
However, Guevarra, basing on the Bureau of Immigration (BI) records, said one of Napoles' daughters, Jeane Catherine, has already fled the country.
Catherine left (the Philippines) last July 27, he told reporters.
Guevarra said the BI was not able to provide details of Jeane Catherine's records.
He also said Napoles' brother Lim and his wife are still in the country.
Based on the info provided by BI, it would seem that they are here in the Philippines, he said.
The US Department of Justice said Napoles, her children Jo Christine, James Christopher and Jeane, brother Reynald Lim and his wife Ana, were charged with money laundering and conspiracy.
American prosecutors said the money was used to buy assets in the US, including several properties and luxury vehicles.
Among those indicted in the US, Napoles, Jo Christine and James Christopher are facing multiple charges before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the pork barrel scam. Napoles is currently detained at the Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
The Court of Tax Appeals has dismissed Jeane Catherine's PHP17-million tax evasion case.
Pursuant to the recent decision of the Supreme Court, the DOJ has no statutory power to restrain the travel of persons of interest, especially if they are not facing any investigation here, Guevarra said.
But considering that an indictment has already been made in US courts, the US government has ways of tracking down the defendants anywhere, including tapping the assistance of the Interpol (International Criminal Police Organization), he added.
Guevarra added that the Philippine government will assist in facilitating the extradition of Napoles and her family members should the US justice department requests it. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency