Palace denies giving advice to Napoles lawyer

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 20 2018 01:23 PM | Updated as of Dec 07 2018 03:16 PM

MANILA - Malacañang on Tuesday denied it advised the lawyer of alleged pork barrel scam key player Janet Lim Napoles that he should file a motion seeking the transfer of his client from Camp Bagong Diwa to the Department of Justice after she was “provisionally” accepted to the government’s witness protection program.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea denied Napoles’ lawyer Stephen David’s claim that he had a meeting with him and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II sometime after February 27, after the DOJ made the certification that Napoles was a provisional state witness.

“Why would I give a legal advice to a lawyer for his client? If I were his client I will fire him,” Medialdea said in a text message.

Medialdea, however, has yet to confirm if the meeting indeed occurred.

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.

The Palace in January said Napoles, a "central figure" in the controversy, should be allowed to speak after she claimed she gave a campaign donation worth P5 million to opposition leader Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.

Critics have blasted Napoles’ designation as state witness, saying the pork barrel scam would not have fully worked without her participation.

Former President Benigno Aquino III’s critics, however, had said there was "selective justice" in the handling of the pork barrel scam cases during his term, as lawmakers deemed unfriendly to his administration were the only ones indicted.

Lawyer Levito Baligod, a former lawyer of pork barrel scam key witness Benhur Luy, said there was no need to make Napoles a witness as there are already pork barrel scam-related cases against members of the Liberal Party, Aquino’s political party.