Why they cannot, must not drop Janet-A A +A
Thursday, August 29, 2013
ANY talk of Janet Lim-Napoles, alleged mastermind of the decade's monumental scam of public funds, being made state witness is not only premature, it adds fuel to public wrath.
Letting her go by making her testify for the state is not throwing fist at the moon.
Prosecutors and judges are given discretion to allow it. True, the law provides that only the least guilty among the accused can be state witness and when there's no other evidence to convict, yet there were times when the law was bent.
But that can't happen to Janet. The reasons:
The evidence so far indicates she's not the least guilty. To judge her part in the fraud as minor is to say Marcos's role in martial law and Arroyo's fault for her term's plunder were minimal. Even if only 10 of 28 bogus NGOs were Janet's, would a few billion pesos less in her loot exempt her from prosecution?
To convict her, there's already enough evidence provided by whistleblowers; to convict others, the state must use its investigative skills and powers, not buy Janet's testimony with her freedom.
Face of fraud
She has become the face of the humongous fraud. Exposure of other culprits, still not named, isn't likely to lessen her guilt in the public mind, if not yet in a court of law.
She has shown excessively obscene greed, which she flaunted, a major factor that drove public fury; letting her go may lead to bigger protests.
If she walks this time, as she did in two previous similar scams, it may confirm her claim that she and her kin "own the government."
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 29, 2013.