Duterte backs acquittal of Janet Napoles in detention case

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 27 2017 04:12 PM | Updated as of Feb 27 2017 06:50 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte and Janet Lim Napoles Composite

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he backs the decision of Solicitor General Jose Calida to call for the acquittal of alleged pork barrel scam key player Janet Lim Napoles in herserious illegal detention case.

“I think he’s right. I agree with the -- because your job even if you are a prosecutor -- I’ve done that several times. I myself would move for the dismissal of the case,” Duterte told reporters in an ambush interview in Malacañang.

A local court imposed a penalty of life imprisonment on Napoles for the illegal detention of her second cousin, Benhur Luy, who is the star whistleblower in the pork barrel cases.

In asking the appellate court to have a second look at Napoles’ serious illegal detention case, Calida argued that Luy’s behavior at the time of his supposed illegal detention is questionable.

Duterte agreed with Calida’s arguments, dismissing allegations that the OSG’s move is a demonstration of the his ties with Napoles’ lawyers.

“Ako kapag ganoon, sa totoo naman, the circumstances would show it, he (Luy) was not restrained at all,” Duterte said.

“Para sa akin, kung ako idi-dismiss ko rin talaga.”

The OSG’s move prompted critics and observers to allege that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte may have already reached a modus vivendi with Napoles.

Calida, however, said his office’s move to ask for Napoles’ acquittal was only done in the interest of justice.

Duterte, for his part, said: "It is not our job to persecute, it is your job to prosecute rightly. Simple justice lang iyan.”

The president refused to comment on Napoles’ role in the pork barrel scam, but he said he will seek for a reassessment of the cases since it seemed that not all those involved in the scam were charged before the courts.

“Parang selective ang binira eh. Hindi naman lahat. It’s a sauce for the gander, sauce for the goose (sic). The criminal actions must proceed against all responsible,” he said.