De Lima on PDAF reinvestigation: a witch hunt

By , on May 16, 2017

Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda sentences alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles (in yellow polo shirt) to a jail term of up to 40 years after finding her guilty of illegally detaining her former employee, whistle-blower Benhur Luy, on Tuesday (April 14, 2015). Judge Alameda also ordered Napoles to pay Luy PhP50,000 as civil indemnity and PhP50,000 as moral damages. The court likewise ordered Napoles' transfer from Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City to the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City. (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)
(PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

Amid reports that the Duterte government will reopen the so-called “pork-barrel” scam, detained Senator and Duterte critic Leila De Lima said that the administration is setting the stage for an “upcoming government witch hunt”.

It was on Monday when reports surfaced that the government will use alleged mastermind and currently detained Janet Lim-Napoles as a state witness.

De Lima issued a statement from her cell stating that “all of the actions of the government in causing the acquittal of Napoles and making her a state witness bear the hallmarks of an upcoming government witch hunt.”

“It is regrettable when the real criminal mastermind is exonerated and the innocent persecuted, merely in order for an already despotic regime to achieve absolute political dominance by silencing any remaining opposition with threats of persecution,” she said.

She also criticized Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II for making it appear that the investigation conducted on the pork barrel scam during her term as Justice Secretary was not productive and that it only sanctioned and prosecuted only three senators.

Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla were charged with graft and corruption for their involvement in the scam.

“He (Aguirre) is not claiming that Janet Lim-Napoles has a lot more information to reveal. These are at least, misleading assertions.” She said.

She also stated that Napoles was a “polluted source”.

“She was then willing to lie to avoid imprisonment. With her acquittal from the serious detention case, under the Duterte Administration, it appears that she has finally succeeded in closing the deal that the past administration of the Department of Justice (DOJ) under my leadership refused her.” She said.

As of the moment, De Lima remains inside the Philippine National Police Custodial Center together with Revilla and Estrada.