MANILA – Janet Lim-Napoles has not only blown her chances of becoming a state witness, but she might also be transferred to a regular jail.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said that the Department of Justice (DoJ) is considering a proposal to transfer Napoles to the Makati City Jail from her detention cell in the police camp at Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
“We need to be very certain and will thus reassess the security concerns attached to such kind of a detainee vis-a-vis the gravity of the charges against her and her VIP cohorts, specifically the plunder cases,” De Lima stated in a text message.
The DoJ chief said she will discuss the matter with the Department of the Interior and Local Government – which has jurisdiction over the Philippine National Police – and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology which are the current custodians of Napoles.
“The proposal could be well justified. But of course, we will take it up ultimately with the President,” she said.
De Lima made this statement after some disappointed senators called for the transfer of Napoles to a regular jail after her persistent denials and evasive statements in the Senate hearing held last Nov. 7 on the pork barrel scam.
Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano and Sen. Francis Escudero said Napoles does not deserve preferential treatment with her refusal to tell all in the scam she allegedly perpetrated.
The two senators also cited the expenses of the government whenever Napoles is brought to hearings in Metro Manila for cases against her.
They said the PNP spends P150,000 each time Napoles goes out of her detention center in Laguna.
The DoJ earlier moved to detain Napoles in Fort Sto. Domingo for security concerns.
De Lima also supported a reported plan of the senators to file perjury charges against Napoles.
“I’m all for the filing of perjury and contempt raps against Napoles, given her evasive posturing, if not downright lies, during the Senate hearing,” she said.
Earlier, De Lima said the refusal of Napoles to tell all at the much-anticipated hearing closely monitored by the public might have blown her chances to be considered a state witness in plunder cases pending before the Office of the Ombudsman.
“Her stance at the Senate hearing was not at all encouraging for us to consider such a prospect of her being a state witness,” she said.
Because Napoles refused to spill the beans, De Lima said, she would remain as the alleged brains of the P10-billion pork barrel scam based on evidence at hand.
“It’s really difficult to qualify as state witness. There are many requirements to be met and that includes the accused being ‘not the most guilty’ of the crime charged,” she said.