Duterte backs SolGen's move on Napoles' illegal detention case

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Janet Lim-Napoles is transferred to the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte agrees with the Solicitor General's move to appeal Janet Lim Napoles's conviction for illegal detention.

The President, in an interview on Monday, told the media, that when it comes to her illegal detention case, it appears that Napoles is innocent.

Napoles was found guilty of illegally detaining her cousin and employee Benhur Luy — who became the whistleblower in the plunder case against Napoles and a number of politicians. Luy testified about Napoles' dealings with lawmakers, and how they diverted millions of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations through bogus non-government organizations.

"Totoo naman circumstances show he (Benhur Luy) was not restrained at all. If you follow the story, the solicitor general is right, he could go in and out, bumisita media sa kanya and hindi naman siya umiyak [media visited him and he wasn't crying]," Duterte said.

Duterte said he is backing the country's chief attorney, Jose Calida, in questioning Napoles's conviction before the Court of Appeals.

Calida believes Napoles suffered an injustice when she was convicted two years ago.

Duterte, who is also a lawyer, said there is nothing irregular with Calida's appeal, as prosecutors can move for the dismissal of a case if they believe evidence was planted or fabricated.

"Kung ako i-disismiss ko rin talaga. I will move for the dismissal of the case. Because it is not our job to persecute, it is your job to prosecute rightly," the President said.

Also read: Solicitor General: More senators, higher officials involved in pork barrel scam

Plunder case is another story

President Duterte clarified, the appeal on the illegal detention case has nothing to do with Plunder and Graft charges filed against Napoles over the alleged pork barrel scam.

Duterte also said he is considering a reinvestigation into the alleged PDAF scam.

According to Duterte, it seems not all those involved were charged by the previous administration.

"Kasi parang selective yung binira eh [It seems the persecution was selective]. Its sauce for the gander sauce for the goose. The criminal action must proceed against all who are responsible, that's (the) principle behind it," the President said.

Also read: Palace top legal counsel: Napoles unlikely acquitted for plunder