Santiago: Secure Napoles testimony early amid death threats-A A +A
Monday, September 2, 2013
BUSINESSWOMAN Janet Napoles can give testimony regarding the pork barrel scam ahead of trial considering alleged threats to her life, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said Monday.
Napoles has yet to be charged with plunder for funneling billions of pesos in pork barrel funds to fake non-government organizations (NGOs).
The scam involves lawmakers whom Napoles can identify in her deposition or written testimony, which will be preserved even if something happens to her.
"Any adverse event could prevent Napoles from fully identifying the senators and congressmen with whom she had PDAF (priority development assistance fund) transactions. For example, any of the suspects could hire operatives to silence her, or she might inflict physical damage on herself. She might contract a life-threatening ailment," the senator said.
She said "perpetuation of testimony" is allowed under the Rules of Court.
Should Napoles avail of this option to reduce the level of threats to her life, Santiago said she has to file a petition in court 20 days before the hearing.
Napoles' lawyer Lorna Kapunan could not be reached for comment while Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, who has control over the policemen guarding the businesswoman, said in a radio interview it is up to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to look into Santiago's suggestion.
So far, Napoles is detained at Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna for alleged serious illegal detention of whistleblower Benhur Luy. She will be arraigned on September 9 at the Makati City Regional Trial Court branch 150.
Due to the one-hour drive from Makati to Sta. Rosa, Senate President Franklin Drilon proposed that the hearing will be done in the police camp to ensure her security.
Roxas said they will know next week if how much it costs for the government to bring Napoles back and forth to her cell. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)