DOJ ends Janet Napoles' witness protection coverage

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 25 2018 04:10 PM | Updated as of May 25 2018 06:20 PM

MANILA - (2nd UPDATE) The Department of Justice on Friday said it has terminated businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles' provisional admission to its witness protection program.

Secretary Menardo Guevarra issued a letter to Napoles through her counsel to notify her about the termination, which takes effect on Friday, a press statement from the DOJ said.

"As there has been no further claim of threats to her personal security inside Camp Bagong Diwa, the Secretary of Justice has found no reason to extend further Ms. Napoles' provisional coverage under the Witness Protection Program," it read.

Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the multibillion-peso scam that used lawmakers' pork barrel funds, has been "provisionally covered" by the program since February 27, during the time of then-Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre. It was set to lapse on May 26.

She is detained at the Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City on plunder charges in connection with the billions in lawmakers' discretionary fund funneled to non-existent projects by bogus non-government organizations which she owned.

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Atty. Stephen David, Napoles' legal counsel, said their camp regrets the DOJ's decision, which they have yet to receive an official copy.

"Hindi na-shock pero syempre nanghihinayang lang kami kasi sana kung natuloy yung pagsasalita niya, malaman sana ng bayan natin kung sino talaga yung involved o mga kumita dun sa PDAF…tiyaka yung mga ibang proyekto ng gobyerno," David told radio DZMM.

(We were not shocked but of course, we regret the decision because she will not be able to share to the public what she knows and identify those involved in the PDAF...and other government projects.)

"We will just go with the trial. Tapusin naming yung mga kaso na nakabinbin pa. (We will just finish the pending cases)."

The Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam was first busted in 2013, eventually leading to the scrapping of "pork barrel" at the legislature. 

Napoles had earlier come out with her own list of lawmakers and other individuals she accused of being involved in the scam, but only a few personalities have been indicted.

- report from Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News