Palace exec denies hand in move to transfer Napoles

EXECUTIVE Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Tuesday, March 20, denied having a role in the proposal to move alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles out of a detention cell in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

Napoles' lead counsel, Stephen David, revealed Monday, March 19, that he met with his client and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to seek legal action, after his client was provisionally admitted to the Department of Justice's (DOJ) witness protection program.

Medialdea disputed David's claim, saying that he would not give legal advice for Napoles.

"Why would I give a legal advice to a lawyer for his client? If I were his client, I will fire him," the Executive Secretary said in a text message.

David on Monday told Third Division magistrates that the plan to file a motion for the transfer of Napoles' custody was reached after Medialdea and Aguirre gave their blessing.

"There was a discussion with the Executive Secretary that the DOJ shall take custody of Mrs. Napoles. Because of that, I sought to write on the matter," he said.

Napoles is detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City for plunder cases, in connection with the controversial P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam.

Napoles' provisional admission to the witness protection program took effect on February 27, but it was made public only on March 16.

Last year, Aguirre expressed his intent to turn Napoles into a state witness, if it will be proven that she is not the most guilty in the pork barrel scam.

It could also be recalled that in October 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte said Napoles "appears to be the minimal player, not the major player in the commission of the crime." (SunStar Philippines)
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