Roxas: Janet Napoles has to stay alive
MANILA - Businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, who is at the center of the multibillion-peso pork barrel scandal involving lawmakers, must stay alive for the government to pursue its cases, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said Friday.
Roxas, in an interview with ANC Prime Time, said President Aquino ordered him to ensure nothing happens to Napoles to protect whatever knowledge or evidence she has in connection with the case that has rocked government.
"She knows a lot. Either through personal knowledge or [pieces of evidence] she may have kept such as that 'red book,' or other vouchers, or check book that may be in her possession," he said.
"Anong mangyayari sa lahat ng impormasyon na ito kung may mangyari sa kaniya?" Roxas asked.
"Sa dami ng nalalaman niya, marami ang nagagalit sa kaniya at marami ang nagtatangka na patahimikin siya ng permanente," he said.
"Maari na maraming may balak patahimikin siya. Kailangan sumailalim siya sa proseso ng batas, mapiga ng batas. Mangyayari lamang ito kung mananatili siyang buhay," he added.
Napoles surrendered to Aquino Wednesday night after hiding for 2 weeks. Arrest warrants were issued against her and her brother, Reynald Lim, for serious illegal detention of pork barrel scam whistleblower Benhur Luy.
Aside from the pork barrel scam wherein Napoles allegedly was behind several fake NGOs that siphoned off public funds with the help of lawmakers, she has also been linked to the fertilizer fund scam, the Malampaya funds mess, and the Kevlar helmets scam.
"She is an accused in the existing serious illegal detention of Mr. Luy. We also know from whistleblowers she is at the center of the pork barrel scam. She is also the conduit of money flows between the scam and the beneficiaries," Roxas said.
He explained that if Napoles cooperates with the government, her knowledge may be helpful for prosecutors to strengthen cases "against these people who allegedly (used) the people's money."
Once cases are filed in the pork barrel scam, Napoles will be a principal co-accused, Roxas said, quoting Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
"She will face the full (force) of the law," he said. "She is in custody and the fact that she is alive is a big plus."
Roxas, however, said he hasn't had talks with Napoles on the pork barrel scam case.
"My dialogues have to ensure her being alive and follow court orders on her detention," he said.
Roxas said the Justice Department and the National Bureau of Investigation are gathering evidence on the pork barrel with "much speed and diligence".
"Investigation into the pork barrel scam is ongoing. Napoles in custody is a side show," he said.
"The real meat is filing of charges for plunder, graft and corruption relative to whatever evidence obrained either from whistleblowers or Janet Napoles," he added.