DOJ OK with lifestyle checks of witnesses

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 24 2014 05:38 PM | Updated as of Feb 25 2014 01:38 AM

MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) is open to the proposal to subject "pork barrel" scam witnesses to lifestyle check, specifically on-leave Technology Resource Center chief Dennis Cunanan, a respondent in the cases who is now applying for state witness.

The proposal was made by Sen. Grace Poe who cautioned the DOJ in its acceptance of state witnesses for the effective prosecution of the cases.

Cunanan earlier confirmed that he was pressured by lawmakers to release their Priority Development Assistance Fund to bogus non-government organizations set up by Janet Lim Napoles.

Poe said that as a top official of the agency, Cunanan was accountable for his actions.

De Lima clarified that even if Cunanan were involved in the scam, his application for Witness Protection Coverage (WPP) would not have been compromised.

"Such a process (lifestyle check) is always available, irrespective of his status as a state witness. May I just point out that, assuming arguendo that Cunanan benefited from the transactions coursed through his office (something he's denying), that fact alone will not disqualify him for provisional WPP coverage, provided he meets the legal requirements, one of which is he does not appear to be the most guilty," De Lima said.

Cunanan was recently admitted to the DOJ WPP. He executed a 36-page sworn statement detailing how Senators Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada, and Juan Ponce Enrile, through his former chief of staff, Atty. Gigi Reyes, allegedly endorsed NGOs of alleged "pork barrel" scam brains Janet Lim Napoles as beneficiaries of their PDAFs.

Cunanan claimed he was "pressured" to give in.

The Office of the Ombudsman will evaluate the weight of Cunanan's testimony as opposed to his complicity in the crime.