New DOJ secretary to Napoles: You cannot demand custody transfer

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 17) - After being granted provisional entry to the Witness Protection Program (WPP), should accused pork scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles push for the approval of her request to be transferred to the safehouse of the Department of Justice (DOJ)?

In the mind of the new Justice Secretary, Napoles has no right to demand anything.

"The Department hereby manifests that accused Napoles was previously granted a provisional coverage under the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Program. The same, however, does not confer upon her an actionable right to demand detention or custody under the aforesaid program," DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a manifestation sent to the Sandiganbayan on April 16.

Napoles is currently incarcerated in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.

"Her application is still pending, and the provisional coverage merely signifies that she has yet to complete all the requirements and/or that her application is still under evaluation," Guevarra added.

Napoles, however, can no longer move out of the jail. Under the rules, when one division denies the motion, Napoles is effectively prevented from being transferred to DOJ custody.

While the Third Division has yet to release a decision, the First Division denied the motion on April 10, so did the Fifth Division on April 16.

Napoles' provisional coverage to the WPP program was granted by resigned secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.