PACC: Napoles not pork barrel 'mastermind', just 'willing beneficiary'

MANILA, Philippines – The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) believes Janet Lim Napoles is not the "mastermind" of the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.

"Janet is a willing beneficiary of corruption, but not the mastermind," PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica said on Tuesday, March 27. (READ: TIMELINE: Pork barrel scam 'queen' Janet Napoles: From suspect to witness)

According to Belgica, the kickback scheme cannot be masterminded by a businesswoman, only by politicians.

"Pork barrel, PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund), and DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program) are all masterminded by politicians," he added.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently placed Napoles under provisional coverage of the Witness Protection Program (WPP). Anti-graft court Sandiganbayan has the final say on whether Napoles can indeed be made a state witness. (READ: Sandiganbayan to DOJ: Prove threats vs Janet Napoles)

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, meanwhile, said the state protection would not affect Napoles' pending cases.

The DOJ came under fire over its move, with Vice President Leni Robredo saying that it would be a "mockery of the justice system" if Napoles becomes a state witness. – 

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.