Lawyer says Palace advised them on move to transfer Napoles to DOJ

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2018 03:58 PM | Updated as of Dec 07 2018 06:47 PM

MANILA - The lawyer of alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim Napoles on Monday said he was advised by Malacanang to file the motion seeking the transfer of his client from Camp Bagong Diwa to the Department of Justice after she was provisionally accepted to the Witness Protection Program.

Lawyer Stephen David told the Sandiganbayan 3rd Division that he had a meeting with Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre sometime after February 27, after the DOJ made the certification that Napoles was a provisional state witness.

“Ang meeting namin, na admit na kasi siya sa WPP kasi nga ang gusto sana namin ay ilipat na siya. Pero sabi nga nila, sabi ni ES, nag-meeting kami concerning after na-admit siya, ang sabi nila, kailangan kang mag file ng motion, ang pinag usapan namin whether or not magfa-file ba sya ng motion, yun lang," he said.

David said he was advised by the Palace to file the motion first instead of rushing for the actual transfer of Napoles to the DOJ.

“That we should just get her from that place and transfer her to a secure facility and later on just inform the court that we did this, and they didn’t like that,” David said.

Meantime 3rd Division Chairperson and Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang quizzed David on the implementing rules and regulation of Republic Act 6981 or the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act.

Cabotaje-Tang noted that the IRR act says that anyone who is already in detention like Napoles, should not be taken into custody as a witness.

The prosecution was given 10 days to comment but Deputy Special Prosecutor Cornelio Somido emphasized that the motion has no effect on the plunder case being heard by the court.

“I don’t think the court should be bothered by the motion,” Somido said.

The court also asked David about the supposed threat against Napoles wherein “bonnet men bolt-cutted” the detention cell of Napoles in October last year.

The court then asked for the report of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and David said the DOJ has a copy of the report.