MANILA - Authorities have yet to request the extradition of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles to face her money laundering cases in the US, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Monday.
A US federal grand jury recently indicted Napoles and 5 of her family members for allegedly conspiring to funnel in and out of the US some $20 million in Philippine public funds obtained through a multi-year bribery and fraud scheme.
"At this time, no such formal request [to extradite Napoles] has been made by the US-DOJ with the Philippine government,” Guevarra told lawmakers during a budget hearing for his agency.
Napoles is facing separate plunder and graft charges before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the scam.
Proceedings on all of Napoles' cases should be finished before she could be extradited to the US, Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang said last week.
The National Bureau of Investigation is still probing cases related to the alleged funneling of legislators' discretionary funds into Napoles' bogus non-government organizations, said Guevarra.
"This whole matter of the alleged PDAF scam is not yet completely over. There will be some further investigation to be conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman after the fact-finding activity of the National Bureau of Investigation is done,” he said.
Napoles is detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
Her relatives who are tagged in the US money laundering case may be extradited if they are not facing charges in the Philippines, Guevarra earlier said.
Report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News