CONTROVERSIAL businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged
mastermind in the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam, should not be given special treatment anymore since she herself admitted under oath during last Thursday’s Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing that she has nothing to do with the controversy.
According to Senator Francis Escudero, the government has been providing Napoles special treatment because she is considered as a “high risk” detainee due to her supposed knowledge on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) controversy.
Napoles, who is facing serious illegal detention charges, was allowed to be detained inside Fort Santo Domingo in Santa Rosa, Laguna province instead of the Makati City Jail following her surrender to President Benigno Aquino 3rd last August.
The government insisted that she be detained elsewhere in order to shield her from any threat against that may be carried out by legislators and other government officials who were implicated in the scam.
But Escudero said that her refusal to disclose everything she knew about the pork barrel scam makes her unworthy of any treatment different from what is being provided to ordinary detainees who are also facing charges.
“Who would want her killed, when it is clear that she has nothing to disclose?” Escudero in a television interview.
Members of the Blue Ribbon, including Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago were unsuccessful in cracking Napoles during a six-hour pork barrel investigation after the latter repeatedly invoked her right against self-incrimination.
Santiago even told her that she needs to stop protecting the legislators and start thinking about her safety because those being implicated in the controversy have the capability to silence her.
According to Escudero many thought that her surrender was an indication that she is ready to tell everything about the scam that is why the government has provided the necessary preparation to secure her.
“If that will be her position (to remain silent) there is no reason for her to be given special treatment,” Escudero said.
At the same time the lawmaker suggested that the Department of Justice (DOJ) ask the court that Napoles be transferred back to a regular jail and stop spending public funds to secure her since she claimed that she has nothing to do with the PDAF scam.
Escudero said it is obvious that Napoles is hiding something because she will not invoke her right against self-incrimination if she believes that her testimony won’t get her in trouble.
The Philippine National Police spent P150,000 just to bring her to the Senate but in the end the lawmakers and the public did not get anything from her.
Escudero insisted that Napoles should be treated as an ordinary inmate and be detained together with other people who like her, are facing a criminal charges.