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Latest News Philippines: WHERE’S NAPOLES? – Journal.com.ph:
THE National Bureau of Investigation yesterday launched a nationwide manhunt for suspected pork barrel scam leader Janet Lim Napoles following issuance of a warrant of arrest against her and her sibling for serious illegal detention.
Napoles could not be found shortly after Makati Regional Trial Court Presiding Judge Elmo Alameda issued arrest warrants against her and brother Reynald Luy Lim in connection with the serious illegal detention complaint filed by Benhur Luy, the whistle-blower in the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the NBI would be assisted by other law enforcement agencies in the hunt for Napoles.
She said at least 12 NBI teams have been formed to conduct the manhunt and serve the arrest warrant on the siblings.
De Lima said Napoles and Lim were apparently tipped off on their impending arrest.
”It seems it’s true that they were tipped off about the issuance of the arrest warrant yesterday. But it’s not surprising because personalities like them are well-connected,” De Lima said.
In fact, De Lima said, they have received information that Napoles’ lawyers were already waiting at the Makati RTC to get a copy of the arrest warrant even before it was released.
She said immediately after the NBI got hold of a copy of the arrest warrant, its agents went to Napoles and his brother’s known addresses to implement it but they could not be found.
”They continue to search, it’s actually a no let-up, that’s the instruction,” De Lima said.
The DoJ chief added that she had already instructed Bureau of Immigration Officer-In-Charge Siegfred Mison to order BI personnel to closely watch all exit points to prevent the respondents from leaving the country.
”The moment that she is seen in any of those port or airports by BI personnel (they are) to arrest (the fugitives) on site and turn them over to the NBI,” De Lima said while noting that an arrest warrant is considered a hold departure order (HDO).
The Manila Prosecutor’s Office yesterday set for August 28 and September 4 the preliminary investigation into the perjury case filed by Napoles against whistleblower Benhur Luy.
Aside from Benhur, also named in the complaint were his parents Arturo and Gertrudes and brother Arthur and another whistleblower identified as Merlina Sunas, a former employee of JLN Corporation.
Assistant City Prosecutor Philger Noel Inovejas is handling the case and as of yesterday, the subpoena for Napoles to attend the hearing was set to be sent. Meanwhile, immigration personnel at the NAIA are now on alert for the possible flight of siblings Janet and Rey Napoles.
NAIA immigration counters have in fact the photos of the two posted beside the computer.
NAIA-BI for operation head Dennis Opina said the two will be stopped if they attempt to leave.
Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. has maintained that controversial businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles is a “mere acquaintance” as he deplored efforts by some sectors to link him to her alleged misuse of the pork barrel fund of some legislators.
“I was introduced once or twice to Ms. Napoles, and have seen her occasionally in certain social gatherings. Aside from the customary ‘Hi’s and Hello’s,’ we had no other interaction with each other,” Revilla said in a statement.
“My son Bryan on the other hand, and one of her children were schoolmates in high school. I understand that they, with other friends, went into a business of importing and selling rubber shoes together. Ito nga ‘yung PB & J Corporation,” he said.
Revilla also appealed to his critics to spare his family from the pork barrel fund scandal. Under the national budget, a senator is entitled to Php200 million PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) yearly while a representative is allotted Php70 million.
”It is unfortunate that a legal undertaking between associates is being tainted with malice. Their business endeavor is legal and legitimate. I think that this malicious story is another attempt by some sectors to malign us. Kung gusto akong sirain, ako na lang. ‘Wag na sanang idamay ang anak ko,” he said.
With Jerry S. Tan, Bernadette E. Tamayo
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