By Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos
Malacañang on Friday said that President Duterte has no hand in the Department of Justice’s decision to provisionally place alleged P10-billion “pork barrel” fund scam mastermind businesswoman Janet L. Napoles under the Witness Protection Program.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, in a radio interview, said the President is busy governing the country and has no time to micromanage the agencies in the Executive branch.
“Hindi naman po pinanghihimasukan ng Presidente ang lahat ng bagay na nangyayari sa mga departamento. Otherwise, wala na pong panahon ang Presidente para mamuno sa bayan,” Roque said.
Roque said that since there is a lawful process to be followed, the Palace is leaving the decision to the DoJ to place Napoles under the WPP.
“Hinahayaan na po ng Malacañang itong desisyon kung tatanggapin sa Witness Protection Program si Janet Lim Napoles diyan sa mga prosecutors at kay Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II,” he said.
“Mayroon naman pong proseso sang-ayon sa batas kung paano makakapasok sa Witness Protection Program ang gaya ni Janet Lim-Napoles,” he added.
Roque said Napoles has not been formally accepted to the WPP and was just placed under protective custody as a panel of prosecutors would have to check if she is qualified.
“Ang ibig sabihin lang po ng protective custody, pag-aaralan na ng mga piskal kung siya’y dapat pumasok sa WPP. Pag-aaralan pa po iyong mga affidavit na kaniyang sinumite, pero hindi pa po siya formally admitted to the Witness Protection. Hindi pa po,” Roque said.
Napoles was reported to have been provisionally placed under the WPP last week. Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II has confirmed that Napoles has indeed been placed under the provisional coverage of the WPP.
Aguirre said Napoles has executed an affidavit which provided more details on the pork barrel fund scam in 2013 which led to her life imprisonment sentence.
Roque said Malacañang trusts that the panel of prosecutors will be able to get to the bottom of the pork barrel fund scam after Napoles said that there are other personalities involved.
“Ang importante po ay mapanagot ang lahat ng mga sangkot diyan. Panatag po ang Malacañang na ang prosecutors ay gagawin ang lahat para mapanagot ang mandarambong sa ating bayan,” he said.
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