Napoles surrenders to Aquino-A A +A
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
MANILA (Updated) -- Janet Napoles, the central figure in the alleged pork barrel scam, surrendered to President Benigno Aquino III Wednesday night.
"At 9:37 p.m. on August 28, Janet Napoles surrendered to President Aquino. Napoles is wanted on charges of serious illegal detention arising from the alleged kidnapping of Benhur Luy," Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement.
He said Aquino turned over Napoles to the custody of Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima "for processing and booking."
Napoles' surrender, which was arranged by her lawyer Kapunan through former colleague Lacierda, came hours after Aquino offered P10-million reward for anyone who can give information leading to her arrest.
Her brother Reynald Lim is also a subject of the arrest warrant issued by the Makati City Regional Trial Court branch 150 but he has yet to surface.
The siblings allegedly detained Luy from December to March this year for his knowledge about the Napoles' racket of using 20 fake non-government organizations (NGOs) to pocket public funds in connivance with some legislators and government employees.
In a briefing, Roxas said Napoles and her husband Jaime were fetched in a "secured place" before they were presented to Aquino in Malacanang. Aquino and Napoles had a 10-minute talk where the President assured her safety while under detention.
Napoles will stay in the meantime in a room at the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Camp Crame in Quezon City pending the court's action on where to detain her.
Roxas said the bounty on Napoles has been withdrawn in light of her voluntary surrender.
“The public should not rest easy yet. The surrender of Napoles should not deter the public from stepping up the call for the abolition of the pork barrel system, particularly presidential pork," said Kabataan Representative Terry Ridon.
Ridon said the public should be wary that the surrender may be part of a "well-written Palace script" to stem the "growing" public outrage over the President’s defense and non-abolition of the pork barrel.
The lawmaker urged Napoles to name all those involved in the chain of corruption of the pork barrel and presidential funds.
Aquino had said they will only study the option of turning Napoles into a state witness on the alleged misuse of pork barrel funds if she will surrender to the authorities.
"There's no discussion about being state witness. The President only wanted her to be under the ambit of the law," said Roxas. "We are the government. It's our duty to serve the warrant of arrest."
Plunder charges are currently being prepared by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against Napoles, some lawmakers and officials of NGOs linked to the businesswoman.
"Some officials of the Napoles NGOs and some Napoles staff will also be charged, except for the whistleblowers," Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said in a text message.
The cases will be filed as soon as possible before the Office of the Ombudsman, which is also looking into the scam. (Virgil Lopez/JK/Sunnex)