Napoles placed under DOJ’s witness protection program

MANILA Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II confirmed Friday that suspected pork barrel mastermind, Janet Lim-Napoles, has been provisionally admitted to the Witness Protection Program (WPP).

Aguirre said Napoles has executed an affidavit which provided more details on the alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

"We confirm that Janet L. Napoles has been placed under Provisional Admission of WPP subject to affidavit she submitted which is now undergoing assessment," Aguirre said in a text message.

The WPP is administered by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

WPP is a program established under Republic Act No. 6981 or "The Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act," which seeks to encourage a person who has witnessed or has knowledge of the commission of a crime to testify before a court or quasi-judicial body, or before an investigating authority, by protecting him from reprisals and from economic dislocation.

However, Aguirre said Napoles is still not under the physical custody of the WPP.

"As of the moment, physically she is not under WPP due to provisional status of admission. If requested by subject we can provide additional security and as warranted, address medical needs," Aguirre added.

Earlier, the Court of Appeals reversed a Makati City court decision which convicted Napoles and her brother Jojo Lim for serious illegal detention.

Napoles remains in detention since she is still facing plunder, graft and malversation charges before the Sandiganbayan, along with former senators Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile.

Last November, Aguirre ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct the probe based on the complaint filed by the Coalition for Investigation and Prosecution, led by former Manila councilor Greco Belgica.

The DOJ has already created a team led by Usec. Antonio Kho Jr. to conduct the probe and build-up of possible cases.

Last Feb. 9, Belgica submitted the third tranche of documents that would enable the justice department to build-up possible criminal cases against former president Benigno Noynoy Aquino III and other officials over the alleged misuse of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds.

Belgica said they submitted to Aguirre's office the third set of evidence records that they gathered that would show a conspiracy between the Aquino administration and some lawmakers for the alleged misuse of DAP funds.

Belgica submitted the first tranche of documents on DAP in September last year, and the second tranche last February 1.

He formally asked the DOJ to conduct a fact-finding investigation and called on the department to expedite the probe, saying that the evidence gathered so far would already suffice to charge the former officials in court.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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