De Lima: Napoles’ appeal premature

Justice Secretary de Lima says the Napoles petition filed with the Court of Appeals should be dismissed outright

DISMISSIBLE. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima says the appeal of the Napoleses to stop their arrests should be dismissible. Photo by Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Stop the arrest of Napoles? Try again.

This was the sentiment of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima who said the Napoles camp’s petition with the Court of Appeals (CA) was the wrong move.

“I don’t understand why they would proceed directly to the CA. I think that’s premature. Any remedy they want to seek, they want to avail of, should first and foremost be addressed to the very court that issued the arrest warrant,” she told reporters on Friday, August 16. “They cannot just proceed directly to the CA. I think that should be dismissible outright for prematurity.”

Earlier, the Napoleses’ lawyers asked the CA to immediately stop the implementation of the arrest warrant against them.

A Makati court on Wednesday, August 14, ordered the arrest of Napoles and her brother, Reynaldo “Jojo” Lim, over charges they illegally detained whistleblower Benhur Luy.

The siblings are also allegedly behind a pork barrel syndicate.

The nationwide manhunt continues for the two, who have yet to be found.

Search goes on

National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) spokesperson Cecilio Zamora Jr said they have received leads from informants but they are “mostly pranks.”

He appealed to the public to take the investigation seriously, because the NBI’s resources are scarce. He said one team went to Tondo after a lead brought them there and provided a specific plate number which led to the wrong vehicle.

As of now, De Lima said they have no rewards for the public yet for tips on the Napoleses, although citizens’ arrests are permitted.

“I will still consult the NBI but as of yesterday when I consulted the NBI officials on the propriety and necessity of offering reward money, they said ‘Ma’am lets wait for developments first in the next 24 or 48 hours before we implement that,'” she said.

Zamora also admitted some teams have had difficulty entering high-security villages like Forbes Park, and while warrants of arrest allow them to enter anywhere, he said the NBI has decided against forced entry or breaking in because they have not been “sure she is there.”

“Of course we want to be sure first before breaking in,” he said. –