MANILA — The proverbial long arm of the law is no match for loose lips, it appears, as this caused the failure of law enforcers to serve a warrant for the arrest of Janet Lim Napoles, a businesswoman who is at the center of the pork barrel scam.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Napoles was given advance information on her impending arrest even as the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is tracking down 30 motor vehicles which could have been used by the embattled businesswoman.
The Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) had earlier ordered the arrest of Napoles and her brother Reynald “Jojo” Lim for their alleged participation in the illegal detention of Ben Hur Luy, a witness in the scam that involved at least P10 billion.
“Someone tipped (them) because her (Napoles) lawyers were there first, waiting at the RTC. That’s the report now. That’s the reason last night, as soon as the NBI team was able to get hold of the copies of the warrant of arrest, they immediately proceeded to the known addresses of the Napoleses…but they were all negative,” she told reporters.
“It’s not surprising because the fact that she was not seen after the warrant of arrest was issued, it means she got advance info. Anyway isn’t she well-connected? Didn’t she brag she controls the government?” De Lima said.
Twelve NBI teams were conducting a manhunt along with operatives of regional and field offices .
“The NBI investigation with or without her participation continues. If she continues to be in hiding and continues to be a fugitive then she is deemed to have waived her right to air her side. This (pork barrel probe) is just on investigation level, this is not yet a preliminary investigation,” she said.
But even as the claimed whistleblower, Ben Hur Luy, has been making statements on Napoles’s alleged scam, the Manila prosecutor’s office has set a probe on perjury raps against the whistleblowers on P10-B pork barrel scam.
It set the preliminary investigation into the perjury case filed by the camp of Napoles, the alleged “brains” behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam, against some of the whistle blowers in the scam.
Those charged were Benhur Luy, his parents Arturo and Gertrudes, and his brother Arthur, as well as Merlina Sunas, a former employee of the JLN Corp.
The hearing was set on Aug. 28 and Sept. 4, 2013.
Assistant City Prosecutor Philger Noel Inovejas was assigned to handle the case. (The Daily Tribune)