Malacañang on Friday backed the decision of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to consider a proposal to put alleged pork scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles in a regular jail.
Napoles is currently detained in Fort Santo Domingo, the headquarters of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force, for serious illegal detention charges filed against her by accuser Benhur Luy.
Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said that the justice department is currently making a “thorough study” of the proposal.
”We’re aware of proposals to transfer Napoles to a regular jail. I was informed by [Justice] Secretary [Leila] de Lima that they are now thoroughly studying the proposal for her transfer,” Valte said in a press briefing.
However, she said that the government maintains that Napoles is a “high-risk detainee” because of her alleged participation in the pork barrel scam.
According to her, the government is bound by a court order to keep her at Fort Santo Domingo with police on guard.
”There are considerations both ways, and as I mentioned the other day, yes, that is the unfortunate expenses that we have to put up with when she is being transported due to court orders,” Valte said.
”But that will be considered in the study that is being conducted by the Department of Justice on this matter. They are not deaf to the calls for her transfer to a regular jail,” she added.
Valte made this statement after some lawmakers called for the transfer of Napoles to a
regular jail since she has already denied any involvement in the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam.
They also cited the expenses of the government whenever Napoles is brought to hearings in Metro Manila for cases against her.
According to PNP, the government spends P150,000 each time Napoles goes out of her detention center in Laguna.
Meanwhile, the Palace official said that it will be up to the court to decide on the credibility of former technology Resource Center director general Dennis Cunanan.
”It will be the court in the end that will determine the credibility of a witness and the weight that will be accorded to his testimony,” Valte said
Cunanan is allegedly being questioned on his credibility following reports that there were some assets that were not included in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth.
However, Valte noted that would be the task of the justice department.
“The DOJ will be in charge of assessing his standing in reference to new information that may be coming to light, so lets defer to them on that,” she added
Cunanan’s TRC was said to have been used as a conduit to channel the funds to Napoles’ non-government organizations, with lawmakers supposedly getting kickbacks from the transactions.
Cunanan, named respondents in the two batches of PDAF-related complaints lodged before the Office of the Ombudsman, is the latest suspect to turn into a witness.
He is currently under provisional coverage of the Witness Protection Program, and is aiming to later become as state witness upon approval from the Sandiganbayan, once formal cases are filed.