MANILA – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has rejected Janet Lim Napoles’ request to put her under the church hierarchy’s protective custody.
Citing legal and financial impediments, Lingayen Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said there are obstacles from both the Church and the State laws.
“With regard to her request that the CBCP take her under protective custody, we face obstacles from both Church and State laws,” he said.
The Archbishop also added that the Episcopal conference that will serve as “guarantor before civil courts that the accused will not abscond and will be available at every trial date,” is strictly prohibited in Church laws.
He also added that once the church assumes responsibility over a single person involved in the pork scam, it should also do the same for all the other accused who would request church custody.
“Once we allow CPCP’s offices to take recognizance of Ms. Napoles, we must, to be fair, accept similar requests from all other accused. Not only would this strain CBCP’s resources. It would render impossible the discharge of its principal functions,” Villegas explained.
He, however, urged the state prosecutors and the administration to respect and protect Napoles’ rights adding that the prosecutors should be non-selective and fair in seeking justice.