Robredo: Placing Napoles under witness protection a 'mockery' of justice

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Janet Lim Napoles

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 18) — Vice President Leni Robredo said turning alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles into a state witness is a "mockery of the justice system."

"Alam naman natin na iyong puwede lang maging state witness iyong least guilty. Alam natin na si (Napoles) iyong namuno para gawin ding mockery iyong mga batas natin," Robredo said in an interview at the Pakasaritaan 2018 Conference in Baguio City Saturday.

(Translation: We know that people who appear to be least guilty are the ones eligible to be a state witness. We know Napoles led the way to make a mockery of our laws.)

Napoles faces several plunder and graft charges before Sandiganbayan divisions for alleged involvement in a ₱10-billion pork barrel scam.

She has been provisionally placed under the Justice Department (DOJ)'s witness protection program (WPP), the DOJ said Friday.

On Monday, the Sandiganbayan will decide on her request to be under DOJ custody. Her lawyers have said Napoles will reveal big personalities involved in the scam once she turns state witness.

In the charges against her, Napoles allegedly conspired with 12 former lawmakers to divert public funds to fake nongovernmental organizations. Apart from Estrada, former senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Bong Revilla were also allegedly involved in the scam.

The WPP seeks to encourage a person who has witnessed or has knowledge of the commission of a crime to testify before a court or an investigating authority, by protecting the person from revenge and from economic dislocation.

READ: Pork barrel scam prime suspect Janet Lim Napoles now under witness protection

Robredo said Napoles' case may send a detrimental message to the people on the country's justice system.

"Parang galing pa lang tayo sa isang blow noong pinawalang-sala si Peter Lim saka si Espinosa, tapos ang kasunod ito. Parang talaga bang gusto nating sabihin sa tao na hindi na siya... hindi na tayo dapat tumiwala sa sarili nating justice system?" Robredo added.

(Translation: We just came from the blow on the dismissal of drug charges against Peter Lim and Kerwin Espinosa, and then this. It's like we are sending the message they should not trust our justice system.)

In July 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte named Lim as one of the country's topmost drug lords. Meanwhile, self-confessed drug dealer Espinosa said he paid millions to generals and police officials to protect his illegal drug business.

Espinosa also implicated detained senator and former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who allegedly received P8 million from Espinosa to fund her senatorial bid.