Janet Lim-Napoles claimed on Monday that senator Leila de Lima tried to extort money from her when she was the secretary of justice.
The money would have been in exchange for the dropping of the illegal detention complaint filed against her by Benhur Luy, one of the witnesses in the pork barrel scam that also involved Napoles.
The Office of the Solicitor General earlier recommended Napoles’ acquittal in a manifestation filed at the Court of Appeals. Solicitor General Jose Calida said the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 150 erred in convicting Napoles.
“Wala naman po talagang illegal detention na nangyari. Ito po ay extortion lamang. Dismissed na po ang kaso na ‘to sa DOJ noon pa (No illegal detention happened. There was only extortion. The case was dismissed by the Department of Justice a long time ago,)” Napoles told reporters.
When asked who tried to extort money, Napoles replied “Isa si [dating]Secretary Leila De Lima (one of them was [former]Secretary Leila De Lima).”
The DOJ dismissed the serious illegal detention complaint filed against Napoles in June 2013, prompting the National Bureau of Investigation to file a motion for reconsideration. The Justice department granted the motion and filed a case at the Makati RTC.
Napoles is currently serving life sentence at the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong City after the Makati court found her guilty in April 2015.
She was at the Sandiganbayan Monday for the pre-trial of the plunder and graft charges she is facing along with former Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and several others in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam.
The anti-graft court’s Fifth Division reset the pre-trial to April 17.
De Lima is detained at the Philippine National Police’s Custodial Center on charges that she allowed the illegal drug trade inside the national penitentiary when she was Justice secretary. REINA TOLENTINO