MANILA - A special prosecutor on Monday told a Sandiganbayan division that there was no specific provision in the witness protection program to support alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles' claim that she was a “provisional state witness.”
Special Prosecutor and former Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Edilberto Sandoval said that it is either Napoles is admitted to the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Program or not.
“How long can it be? 10 years?” Sandoval asked.
Sandiganbayan 1st Division Chairperson Efren De La Cruz and Associate Justice Geraldine Faith Econg also asked Napoles' lawyer, Stephen David, to coordinate with the Department of Justice so a representative can appear before the court in its regular hearing on the case of Napoles and former Senator Bong Revilla on Tuesday.
While Sandoval initially opposed the motion of the camp of Napoles askiing for her transfer from Camp Bagong Diwa to the Department of Justice, they were also asked by the court to submit a written comment.
On Friday, David filed the urgent motion for transfer, along with a certification from the DOJ that Napoles is provisionally accepted to the witness protection program, pending assessment of her affidavit.
The Sandiganbayan 5th Division, which also heard the urgent motion of Napoles, meantime also ordered the DOJ to submit a written comment on the issue.
Fifth Division Chair Rafael Lagos grilled David on why the DOJ is not a party to the urgent motion which was submitted to the court.
“At least they should have joined you in their motion,” Lagos told David during the hearing.
In an interview after the hearings, David insisted that under the law, Napoles should already be transferred to the DOJ after she was provisionally admitted to the WPP but they still asked for the permission of the court “as a matter of courtesy.”
David noted that under the law, the government shall secure Napoles and provide her with safe housing facility.
“The law is very clear,” David said.
David also reiterated that they are not requesting for anything in return from the DOJ after Napoles submitted her affidavit.
David however reiterated that in her affidavit, Napoles mentioned opposition lawmakers who are not yet included in the pork barrel scam cases.