Palace not behind Napoles entry to WPP, says Palace spox

MANILA Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. on Tuesday said Malacanang has nothing to do with supposed pork barrel scam queen Janet Lim-Napoles' request to be placed under the Witness Protection Program (WPP) of the government.

Roque said Napoles' lawyer, Stephen David, went to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to ask him to reverse the position of Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre who gave the opinion that an appropriate motion should be filed before the Sandiganbayan if Napoles wants to apply for WPP.

He (David) did not succeed. So that's proof that MalacaAang is not behind anything as far as Napoles is concerned," Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

Why would I give a legal advice to a lawyer for his client? If I were his client I will fire him, Medialdea said in a text message to the media.

In the same Palace media briefing, Aguirre admitted that he agreed with Napoles' request but clarified what they had initially agreed was to place her only under provisional coverage of WPP.

Aguirre said he agreed to the Napoles camp's request after she promised to tell everything what she knows about the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) scam.

And initially, she said that she is going to execute an affidavit and other affidavits later. So we accepted it, he said.

Aguirre, however, clarified that before Napoles is admitted under the WPP, it has to be established first whether or not she was most guilty in the PHP10-billion PDAF scam allegedly involving big names in politics.

In other words, Janet Napoles cannot be accepted if she appears to be the most-guilty, the DOJ chief said.

So if you are in this plunder and you are private person, then you are just an ordinary co-conspirator. I believe that under the circumstances, the public official is more-guilty. Thus, Janet Napoles in both instances could be put under the coverage of the WPP because she does not appear to be the most-guilty, Aguirre explained.

Roque, for his part, clarified that President Rodrigo Duterte respects the law governing any witness' admission into the WPP.

The law says it is the DOJ that will decide on these matters. The President does not micromanage. He will allow the line agencies to perform their duties according to the law. He will reserve of course exercise of supervision and control if need be," Roque said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency