MANILA, Philippines (Updated) — Fugitive Janet Lim Napoles and her brother Reynald “Jojo” Lim have not fled the country, according to Justice Secretary Leila De Lima.
“All leads, all existing leads, na nakakalap ng NBI ngayon (that the NBI has gathered) point to the fact that they’re still here, that they’re hiding.” she said in a press conference on Tuesday, August 27, where she announced the investigation of the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council (IAAGC) on the pork barrel misuse.
Asked why the government is finding it difficult to locate them two weeks since they were ordered arrested, De Lima said: “Kulang kami sa tao pero hindi kulang sa effort.” (We don’t have enough people, but we’re exerting all efforts.)
The IAAGC is composed of Commission on Audit (COA) chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. Cases are readied against the Napoleses and lawmakers whom De Lima and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales refuse to identify.
The Napoles siblings are accused of running a syndicate that misused multibillion pork barrel funds from lawmakers through the creation of dummy NGOs.
A recently released COA report shows that between 2007 to 2009, questionable NGOs linked to her got P2.157 billion in PDAF funds.
A Makati court on August 14 issued arrest warrants against them over charges that they illegally detained whistleblower Benhur Luy, the cousin who divulged the multi-billion pork barrel scam. The Napoleses have been in hiding since.
Lorna Kapunan, the lawyer of Janet Napoles, earlier tried to justify Napoles’ decision to evade arrest. “Wouldn’t you hide, too,” she asked reporters a day after the warrant was issued.
Napoles had asked the Court of Appeals to stop the implementation arrest warrant, saying the case against her was filed in due haste. — Rappler.com