Napoles must be prosecuted, not protected — Lagman


The government must pursue the criminal prosecution of Janet Lim Napoles as the accused mastermind in the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam, rather than give her protection, security and benefits under the Witness Protection Program (WPP), Albay first-district Rep. Edcel Lagman said on Saturday.

“The liberation of Napoles as the principal accused in the ‘mother of all scams’ in order to be awarded a stellar role as state witness is a mockery of the justice system,” the Magnificent 7 lawmaker said.

Lagman said Napoles is disqualified from admission into the WPP because “as mastermind, she appears to be the most guilty.”

The WPP was established under R.A. No. 6981 or the “Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act” to precisely extend protection and benefits to persons in exchange for their testimonies as government or state witnesses, he said.

“Since Napoles is indicted as the brains in various plunder cases consequent to the PDAF scam, she does not qualify to become a state witness,” he said, noting that under Section 10 of R.A. 6981, “any person who has participated in the commission of a crime” in order to become a state witness must “not appear to be the most guilty”.

“Under any standard, the brains and instigator who plotted and executed the crime is the most guilty,” Lagman said.

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