The alleged brains behind the P10 billion pork barrel scam has surrendered to government.
In a statement, the Palace said Napoles surrendered to President Aquino at 9:37 p.m. Wednesday.
“The President turned her over to the custody of Interior and Local Government Sec. Mar Roxas and Philippine National Police Director Gen. Alan Purisima for processing and booking,” the statement read.
ABS-CBN’s Jacque Manabat said sources have told her Napoles was brought inside Camp Crame by Sec. Roxas and was being processed for detention, including fingerprinting and the taking of her mugshot. After Napoles is booked, she will be immediately detained. Camp Crame has been closed off to media.
Napoles’ lawyer Lorna Kapunan told DZMM that she does not know the location of her client before Napoles surrendered.
Kapunan also said Napoles came out because she feared for her life after the government put out a P10 million reward for any information leading to her arrest.
Kapunan said Napoles’ brother Reynald Lim would also be surrendering to government soon.
The lawyer also said she advised the family of Napoles to trust Aquino. “(The Napoles family) asked me what the best option was. And I said ‘We have to trust someone, and I think (that would be) the President,” Kapunan said. She added that they were assured they would be given due process.
In a brief talk with reporters in Camp Crame at around midnight, Roxas narrated that Kapunan sent surrender feelers on Wednesday to Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda. The two once worked for the same law firm.
Roxas also said the President called him after lunch to "operationalize" the surrender of Napoles. Later, she was picked up from a secure location together with her husband and brought to Malacanang. At the Palace, Napoles met with the President and the two talked for around 10 minutes. The President assured Napoles that she was safe and secure under government custody, Roxas said.
After her brief meeting with the President, Roxas said it was decided she be brought to Camp Crame. Roxas said the President decided to accompany Napoles to Camp Crame. A vacant office was prepared as a holding area for Napoles. She is being kept under heavy guard by the PNP’s elite Special Action Force (SAF).
When asked if Napoles might be receiving special treatment by the government, an irritated Roxas said “what is important is she is secured so we can find out the truth.”
Roxas said there was no discussion on the possibility of Napoles turning state witness.
Napoles is wanted on charges of serious illegal detention filed against her by Benhur Luy, the key whistleblower of the pork barrel scam.
On Wednesday morning, President Aquino ordered a P10 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Napoles.
On Aug. 14, a Makati court issued warrants of arrest against Napoles and Lim.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) conducted a nationwide manhunt for Napoles. Her passport was also cancelled.
Luy and other whistleblowers have said funds from lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) were funneled to fake non-government organizations (NGOs) set up by Napoles.
Media reports also detailed the extent of Napoles’ wealth including numerous vehicles, bank accounts, and properties both in the country and in the US. Her daughter also featured what many thought was a lavish lifestyle in some of her online social media accounts.
Earlier, the President said Napoles should face the charges against her first before she could be considered a state witness against others involved in the scam.
Department of Justice Leila de Lima also said Napoles cannot still be considered a state witness since she has to be considered the least guilty in a case.
De Lima had also said they will be filing the first batch of cases related to the scam in 2 weeks. She added that the perpetrators of the pork barrel scam could face plunder charges.
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