Presidenty Benigno Aquino 3rd on Wednesday announced a P10-million bounty for the capture of high-profile fugitive and pork barrel scam instigator Janet Lim-Napoles.
In a chance interview before a speaking engagement, the President said the reward will be given to anyone who could lead authorities to Napoles and her brother, Reynald Lim.
The two are wanted for the illegal detention of Benhur Luy, one of the whistleblowers in the P10-billion pork barrel scandal.
The Palace had yet to come up with more details on the reward, and whether the bounty also applies to Lim.
Aquino also warned those who are coddling Napoles they can be changed with harboring a fugitive and obstruction of justice.
He said if Napoles thought the government will not keep up the manhunt for her, “then she is mistaken.”
The President said he has confident the manhunt will end soon.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima told reporters in a separate interview the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has no confirmed leads on the whereabouts of Napoles.
De Lima said the NBI assumes that Napoles is surrounded by “armed and dangerous men.”
“That’s always the possibility, that’s always in the realm of possibility,” she said, adding Napoles’ protectors could be soldiers or polticians.
Aquino also doused speculations that Napoles can stand as a state witness in the pork barrel scam, although the possibility will be closely studied by the government.
“The warrant of arrest must first be served, and Mrs. Napoles is placed under government custody and made to answer the accusations against her,” he said.
De Lima said there are many factors to be considered someone qualifies as a state witness, including the weight of the candidate’s guilt and testimony.