Why Senate can't grant Napoles total immunity
MANILA, Philippines - The Senate cannot grant total immunity from prosecution to alleged pork barrel scam brains Janet Lim-Napoles, veteran election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said yesterday.
Macalintal was commenting on the proposal that the Blue Ribbon committee give immunity to Napoles so she could freely talk on who were the senators and congressmen she supposedly bribed in exchange for giving her bogus foundations their pork barrel funds.
“The Blue Ribbon committee cannot grant ‘transactional immunity’ or total immunity to Napoles because Section 12, paragraph 2 of the law on witness protection merely entitles a state witness to immunity from criminal prosecution for the offense or offenses in which his testimony will be given or used,” he said.
Macalintal said this was the reason why the Department of Justice wants the Senate to clarify if it intends to give immunity to Napoles and what kind of immunity.
He noted that Senate President Franklin Drilon later responded if ever they give such privilege, it would only be “testimonial immunity.”
Macalintal said testimonial immunity “refers to a witness’ testimony or evidence which cannot be used against him or her but should the prosecution acquire evidence confirming the crime, independently of the witness’ testimony, the witness may still be prosecuted for the same.“
Citing foreign jurisprudence, he said transactional immunity “is broader in scope as it grants a witness total or complete immunity which will protect him or her from future prosecution in connection with offenses related to his or her testimony.”
Some senators have said shielding Napoles from prosecution would also depend on her testimony and her participation in the alleged misuse of billions of congressional pork barrel funds.