Malacañang on Friday justified the allegedly expensive security preparations for the appearance of Janet Napoles at the Senate hearing on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said that these are all institutional issues and that government is mandated to protect and secure detainees.
“The safety of detainees is an institutional concern of the government. The President decides not on the basis of personal feelings or emotions but on the basis of what is good for the entire country, what will strengthen our processes of justice and penology and detention,” Coloma pointed out.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) earlier provided some P150,000 to securely ferry Napoles to and from the Senate.
According to Coloma, this “is really part of the custodial services of the PNP and the government.”
He stressed hat these funds are prepared for detainees that are under its custody.
On the possibility of Napoles being turned into a state witness, Coloma said they “respect the integrity of the various administrative and judicial processes that are taking place and will still take place.”
Napoles appeared before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing for the first time on Thursday and consistently denied allegations made by the whistleblowers present at the pork barrel scam probe.
The Palace official said that they understand why Napoles refuses to divulge anything important during her testimony.
“Since a complaint has already been filed against her at the Ombudsman, it would be understandable, not only for Mrs. Napoles but for others similarly situated, to protect their legal rights going forward into the prosecution process,” he noted
Coloma said that they are one with people and the Senate in the desire to reveal the truth and punish those involved in the scam.
“We support our people’s clamor to prosecute and punish all those involved,” he said, citing that the legislative inquiry “is part of the overall efforts to ferret out the truth regarding the misuse of PDAF [Priority Development Assistance Fund] and other public funds.”
“We join our people in hoping that this investigation will move the quest for truth and justice forward,” he added. CATHERINE S. VALENTE