MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – The government has put up a P10-million reward for the arrest of fugitive Janet Lim-Napoles, President Benigno Aquino III announced on Wednesday, August 28.
Speaking to reporters at an event at Sofitel Hotel in Pasay, the President said the P10 million will go to anyone who could lead authorities to Napoles, who has been at large for two weeks now.
Asked about government plans to put up a reward for Napoles’ arrest, Aquino said: “I-a-announce namin sana a little later, ano, pero dahil natanong mo na announce ko na sa inyo – 10 million ang reward for information leading to the arrest of Ms. Napoles. Para klaro ha 10 million pesos.” (We were planning to announce this later, but since you asked, I’m announcing it now. It’s a P10-million reward for information leading to the arrest of Ms Napoles. Let me make it clear: it’s P10 million.)
Napoles and her brother Reynald “Jojo” Lim were ordered arrested on August 14 by a Makati court on charges they illegally detained their cousin-turned-whistleblower Benhur Luy, a former longtime assistant of Janet Napoles.
The reward for any information leading to Reynald Lim’s arrest wasn’t discussed by the Cabinet in its meeting Tuesday, August 27, Aquino said. “We were discussing others na nasa wanted list like General Palparan, like the Reyes brothers and others, ano. Kung puwede hintayin lang natin mamaya para ma-announce natin ang detalye,” the President added. (What we discussed were the others on the wanted list like [retired Maj Gen Jovito] Palparan and the Reyes brothers. We will provide details later.)
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Tuesday, August 27, said that based on reports gathered by the National Bureau of Investigation, the Napoles siblings are still in the Philippines.
“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.
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.)
Janet Napoles owns at least 10 properties in the Philippines, according to the NBI.
The scandal involving Napoles, who is believed to be the mastermind of a syndicate that diverted billions of lawmakers’ pork barrel to dubious non-government organizations, triggered the massive protests that were held nationwide and in key cities abroad on Monday, August 26.
The Inter-Agency Government Coordinating Council (IACC) on Tuesday announced it has begun a wide-ranging probe into the pork barrel scam. The IAGCC is composed of Commission on Audit (COA) chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, and De Lima.
Morales said they have asked for documents from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the AMLC in relation to the pork barrel scam. But DBM and AMLC have yet to respond to their request. – Rappler.com