MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – “This shows that Secretary de Lima has exceeded her bounds. This is clearly despotic!”
Lorna Kapunan, lawyer of Janet Lim-Napoles, reacted angrily to a Court of Appeals (CA) order on Friday, August 16 freezing the bank accounts of her client, as well as that of her family members, relatives and staff.
The freeze order will be effective for 6 months.
The CA acted on a petition filed by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) through the Office of the Solicitor General.
Kapunan said they were kept in the dark about the AMLC investigation, adding that the council never informed Mrs Napoles about its probe – which Kapunan said violated due process.
“We were the last to know…we were never invited,” Kapunan said.
The lawyer of whistleblower Benhur Luy said he also had no prior information on the freeze order.
Levito Baligod said he believes the NBI coordinated with the AMLC without involving his client, who exposed Napoles’ alleged role in a pork barrel syndicate. “We had nothing to do with what they agreed on,” Baligod told reporters.
Freezing the personal accounts of Mrs Napoles, Kapunan said, is an indication that the justice secretary has “exceeded her bounds.”
“She should be giving us the benefit of the doubt,” Kapunan said.
De Lima is leading a government probe on allegations Mrs Napoles, in conspiracy with lawmakers and many others, pocketed billions from the Priority Development Assistance Fund, or pork barrel. – Rappler.com