Kapunan: Napoles still in the country
MANILA -- Lawyer Lorna Kapunan said businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles has long been wanting to come forward and disclose her personal knowledge of the so-called pork barrel scam, but the government has been giving the wrong signals.
“Instead of the bounty, the President should just assure Mrs. Napoles will be guaranteed her safety and security as well as her rights under the Constitution, including presumption of innocence and due process,” said Kapunan, who insists Napoles is still in the country.
“If she is involved, she will come out with the truth. Just let her come out. This latest bounty is not an incentive for her to come out,” Kapunan told ANC on Wednesday.
The lawyer said the bounty may even be a “convenient excuse for some people who want to silence her forever, to shoot and kill her when they see her.”
Early this morning on government television, President Benigno Aquino III announced a P10-million reward for those who can pinpoint the whereabouts of Napoles. The alleged brains behind the pork scam and her brother went into hiding after a court ordered them arrested for alleged serious illegal detention of whistleblower Benhur Luy.
Kapunan said Aquino may have been ill-advised by some people, including the whistleblowers, who claim that Napoles has the means to escape.
An NBI official earlier said Napoles has yachts, which may have been used for her escape. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima denied this.
“That is an absolute lie. Mrs. Napoles doesn’t own a yacht at all, not even a small banca,” Kapunan said, adding that is also absurd to say that Napoles has used a plane “and even a submarine” to escape.
She also dismissed alleged reports issued by the NBI that Napoles had a facelift. “That’s absurd. As the text goes, she had plastic surgery to look like me that’s why they can’t find her. It’s getting absurd and farther and farther from the truth who really took the pork barrel,” the lawyer said.
Kapunan noted that all these pieces of information have come from no less than the NBI.
Earlier, Napoles wrote Aquino asking his help regarding the alleged “demand” of Luy -- through lawyer Levito Baligod – for P300 million in exchange for the dropping of the detention case. She also claimed NBI agents raided their unit sans any warrant.
“They have attempted before, and they will attempt again this time” especially now with a bounty to Napoles’ head," Kapunan said.