After Napoles’ surrender: Will she or will she not?-A A +A
Thursday, August 29, 2013
OFFICIALS in Davao City are looking forward to what will happen next after Janet Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the P10 billion "pork barrel" scam, voluntarily surrendered to President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday night.
"The star-studded legal drama is just about to start! Abangan!," Regional State Prosecutor Antonio Arellano said in a text message.
Arellano said the surrender of Napoles "shortened the process of enforcing the order of the court to bring her to the jurisdiction of the court."
He added: "Now that one of the most principal suspects in the PDAF scam is in custody, once the plunder cases are filed, using evidence already on hand, with the Sandiganbayan, she can stay in custody since plunder is a no bail case."
Arellano said the version of Napoles will only be heard as soon as she submits her counter-affidavit.
In a statement posted on the Official Gazette, Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that Napoles, who is wanted on charges of serious illegal detention arising from the alleged kidnapping of Benhur Luy, surrendered to President Aquino at 9:37 p.m. on August 28.
"The President turned her over to the custody of Department of Interior and Local Government Sec. Mar Roxas and Philippine National Police Director-General Alan Purisima for processing and booking," the post read.
Councilor Leo Avila said "the next step will be for her to give the public the whole story. Will she?" Councilor Joselle Villafuerte, meanwhile, said the surrender of Napoles is a welcome development so she can start to "shed light on the alleged P10 billion PDAF-NGO scam."
"But I do not believe she should get off so easily by becoming state witness. She set up bogus NGOs which earned her millions of taxpayers’ money," Villafuerte said.
Villafuerte added: "She should be punished accordingly and jailed, preferably not on a wheelchair at St. Luke's Hospital.
“Dapat kasama ng mga kawatan sa Munti." Lawyer Fatima Adin-Purisima, convenor of Pagbabago movement, also echoed the same sentiment with Villafuerte that Napoles must not be considered as a witness since she is "a major player in this corruption scheme."
"We all know that the least guilty are the only ones who may be considered as a witness in any given criminal case. And Napoles does not appear to be any less guilty. She possesses none of the qualifications of being a state witness," Purisima said.
Councilor Diosdado Mahipus described as "strange" the surrender of Napoles to President Aquino.
"She is really a big time operator. Going straight to the Malacañang to surrender requires special connections. I highly doubt that justice will be served," Mahipus said.
The surrender to the President also did not sit well with lawyer Jonathan Jocom, an official of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Davao City.
"For me, President Aquino should not have received Napoles and should not have accompanied her to Camp Crame. He is the President and should have instead called the chief PNP to arrange Napoles’ surrender," Jocom said.
For Retired Colonel Francisco Villaroman, the Filipinos should welcome the latest development of the pork barrel scam with an "open mind."
"The due process of the law applies to her but we will never know her alleged scam until we get the documentary evidence and witnesses who are really in the know," Villaroman said.
"A paper trail must be initiated by agencies in government to have an airtight case against all the lawmakers involved. Her arrest does not mean the closure of the issue at hand," he added.
Engr. Mario Luis Jacinto, City Planning and Development Office head, said: "It is good! About time she tells the truth and identifies her cohorts. The full force of the law must be applied on them. Let justice be served."
Councilor Edgar Ibuyan said he just hopes that the surrender of Napoles will bring a positive outcome of the scandal.
"Her surrender hopefully will set justice to us poor Filipinos who are deprived for what is entitled and due for us," Ibuyan said. ANC
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 30, 2013.