Prosecution to block bid to make Napoles state witness – Ombudsman

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MANILA, Philippines — Prosecutors from the Office of the Ombudsman will block any attempt to make Janet Lim Napoles, the businesswoman accused of engineering the pork barrel scam, a state witness in the plunder and graft cases filed against politicians involved in the scandal.

Napoles is herself a co-accused in the cases filed over the funneling off of up to P10 billion in lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund through bogus nongovernmental organizations she allegedly set up for this purpose.

The possibility of using Napoles as a state witness was first broached by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, who has also ordered a reinvestigation of the pork barrel scam cases.

Napoles was transferred early Tuesday morning to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig from the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City, where she had been jailed after her since then overturned conviction for serious illegal detention.

Napoles was acquitted of the charge by the Court of Appeals after Solicitor General Jose Calida sided with her.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Tuesday said her office has the “last say” in recommending who can become a state witness while it is the courts that will ultimately decide on the issue.

But Morales stressed that she sees no justification for making Napoles a state witness.