Palace: Napoles' transfer to regular jail still under study

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 28 2014 05:12 PM | Updated as of Mar 01 2014 01:12 AM

MANILA - Malacañang on Friday said government is still thoroughly studying the proposal to transfer alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles to a regular jail.

In a press briefing, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte noted that Napoles remains to be a "high-risk detainee" in connection with her alleged participation in the pork scam according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Napoles is accused of conspiring with lawmakers and government officials in funneling billions of Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) to fake non-government organizations (NGOs) she allegedly set up.

She is currently detained under heavy security at Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna for a serious illegal detention charge filed by whistleblower Benhur Luy.

Some lawmakers, including Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero, want her transferred to an ordinary jail.

They said the businesswoman has nothing to fear if it is true that she had no knowledge about the pork barrel scam as she claimed when she appeared before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing last year.

Valte said government will also consider in its study the "unfortunate" expenses incurred whenever Napoles is transported to Manila.

Meanwhile, Valte said it is up to the court to determine if on-leave Technology Resource Center (TRC) Director General Dennis Cunanan will qualify as state witness.

Cunanan, also a respondent in the pork scam case, was recently provisionally admitted to the DOJ's Witness Protection Program. -- Report from Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News