By Minde Nyl R. dela Cruz
THE Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has moved to oppose for lack of merit a motion by alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles for her transfer of custody to the Witness Protection Program (WPP) of the Department of Justice (DoJ).
In an eight-page comment/opposition filed before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan on March 23, the OSP slammed Ms. Napoles for “believing that she is head and shoulder above the rest of the nameless and faceless detention prisoners.”
Her motion, dated March 15, came after she was placed under the WPP in February to testify on the P10- billion pork barrel scam which also tagged former senators Ramon Revilla, Jr., Jinggoy Estrada, and Juan Ponce F. Enrile.
The OSP noted that Ms. Napoles’ acceptance under the WPP “is merely provisional” and that she “is not a state witness in this case inasmuch as she hardly qualifies as such.”
“Thus, it is condescending for her to ask for her transfer, considering that she has yet to comply with the additional requirements in order for her admission to become regular,” the OSP comment read.
Under Article V of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) on the WPP, a witness can be granted provisional admission when he or she “has complied with all indispensable requirements for admission, but lacks the additional requirements required by the Implementor,” and may be deemed regular only “upon submission of the Order of discharge by the Court.”
The OSP also noted the “confidential nature” of the application for coverage under the WPP.
“In this case, accused Napoles’ disclosure of her provisional coverage does not appear to be with a written order of the DOJ, more so of this Honorable Court,” the OSP comment read.
The OSP added: “This is a serious breach of the confidentiality of her coverage which opens herself not only to penal sanction but also to the termination of her provisional coverage….”
The OSP further noted that Ms. Napoles’ “fear of possible physical harm, unfounded at that, is not a valid and compelling reason to transfer accused Napoles to the custody of the WPP,” and added that the IRR of the WPP “forbids it from extending protective custody to person detained for a lawful cause.”
Ms. Napoles is currently detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.