Jinggoy to Napoles: Surrender, as I did
MANILA, Philippines – A senator associated with Janet Lim-Napoles said on Thursday, August 15, that she should surrender to authorities, as he himself and his father once did.
“I think so,” Sen Jinggoy Estrada said when asked if it would be better for Napoles to surrender after a court ordered her arrest on Wednesday, August 14.
“Kami naman noong araw eh noong inisyuhan kami ng warrant of arrest, hindi naman kami nagtago,” Estrada said, in apparent reference to his and his father’s arrest in 2001 over plunder charges. (We ourselves surrendered before, when a warrant of arrest was issued against us. We didn’t hide.)
In an interview earlier on Thursday, Estrada said the warrant of arrest against Napoles should be respected. “That is the court’s decision, so we have to abide by the decision of the court,” he said.
He refused to comment further on the case filed against Napoles – serious illegal detention involving the whistleblower, Benhur Luy. “I do not know the entire case,” the senator said.
He also said he hasn't spoken to Napoles, whom he described as an acquaintance, for a long time.
According to a Commission on Audit report, Sen Estrada made available his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel, to nongovernment organizations in a questionable manner.
Affidavits submitted to the National Bureau of Investigation also linked Estrada's PDAF to Napoles' dummy corporations.
A Makati court ordered the arrest of Napoles and her brother on Wednesday, August 14, but the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has yet to locate the two.
Photos obtained by Rappler show the ties that bind Estrada and Napoles. The photos show Napoles, owner of the JLN Group of Companies, and some of her family members attending a party apparently hosted by Estrada.
Rappler learned that the photos were taken at Estrada’s favorite hangout in San Juan City.
Enrile: ‘Why not?’
Sought for comment on Napoles' impending arrest, Sen Juan Ponce Enrile, for his part, said it all depends on the evidence. “If there’s evidence against her, why not?”
Enrile also said he respects the decision of the Department of Justice to investigate solons implicated in the pork barrel scam. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Tuesday, August 13, said the DOJ will file graft charges against these lawmakers “in a few weeks.”
“It’s okay. For me, if they can investigate it, better,” Enrile said. “I don’t know what they have. It’s better that we’ll be confronted with their evidence.”
The Philippine Daily Inquirer has reported that 5 senators, as well as 23 members of the House of Representatives, allegedly allowed dummy organizations to use their pork barrel. Among those named in the Inquirer report are Estrada, Enrile, as well as Senators Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr, Ferdinand Marcos Jr and Gringo Honasan. – Rappler.com