MANILA, Philippines – A manhunt is on for Janet Napoles, who has – so far – evaded authorities after a Makati court issued an order for her arrest.
Natashya Gutierrez reports.
Where in the world is Janet Lim-Napoles?
This is the question on everyone’s mind over 24 hours since the Makati Regional Trial Court ordered her arrest and that of her brother Reynald Lim.
The two are wanted for illegal detention for the kidnapping of personal assistant turned whistleblower Benhur Luy.
They are also the alleged syndicates of a multi-million pork barrel scam involving the pocketing of lawmakers’ priority development and assistance funds.
But after a full night and day of searching, the two are nowhere to be found.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima says someone tipped the two which allowed them to evade arrest.
LEILA DE LIMA
And that’s the reason why, kasi last night, as soon as the NBI team was able to get hold of the copies of the warrant of arrest, they immediately proceeded to the known addresses of the Napoleses. Inluding Pacific Plaza, Dasmarinas and meron pa silang ibang pinuntahan pero negative. (Including Pacific Plaza, Dasmarinas and others they went to but they were all negative.)
Whistleblowers say the Napoleses have at least 10 residential addresses in Metro Manila, Laguna and Tagaytay.
Regional and field offices are now involved in the nationwide manhunt.
Twelve teams are deployed to continue the search while the Bureau of Immigration is allowed to make arrests if it spots the two.
Even citizen arrests are permitted.
De Lima warns accomplices helping to hide the Napoleses will face charges as well.
She recommends the two surrender, or waive their right to air their side.
LEILA DE LIMA
Kung ako sa kanya, mag surrender nalang siya. Harapin niya itong kaso at ang susunod na mga kaso. (If I were her I’d just surrender. She should face this case and other cases that will follow.)
Whether or not Napoles cooperates, De Lima says the probe on the pork barrel scam continues.
The Department of Justice also appeals to the public for leads and tips on the siblings’ location, to help them find the Napoleses faster.
All eyes are on the NBI as they work to find the alleged mastermind of what investigators call one of the biggest scams in the country’s history. Now, the Napoleses join General Jovito Palparan and the Reyes brothers among the country’s famous fugitives. Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler, Manila. – Rappler.com