The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday cleared alleged drug lords Kerwin Espinosa and Peter Lim. This Friday, it allowed alleged pork barrel scam queen Janet Lim Napoles under the government’s witness protection program (WPP). For this, politicians and TV personality Karen Davila slammed DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.
“WHAT is with the DOJ?!?! First, they clear self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa and Peter Lim and then now… Janet Lim Napoles covered by the Witness Protection Program?! This is NOT the kind of Justice Department the Filipino people deserve. What is happening?!” ABS-CBN journalist Karen Davila tweeted on Friday.
“The DOJ is making a mockery of us all. #justiceinph.” Davila added, along with a link to the news report of ABS-CBN News about Napoles being placed under the witness protection program. Almost at the same time, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Senator JV Ejercito also criticized Sec. Aguirre’s decisions.
“Do some people in the DOJ really believe that Janet Lim Napoles is qualified to be a state witness in the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) scam which she herself invented, organized and perpetuated??? Wow, what an unbelievable ‘crazy’ development,” Sen. Koko Pimentel said in a text message to reporters Friday.
“I urge the President, who has adopted a no-nonsense attitude towards corruption and inefficiency in government, to review the performance of the DOJ. This is a setback in our fight against corruption and the pork barrel system. I am not prepared to accept the idea that Napoles is the least guilty in the PDAF scam,” Sen. Ejercito told reporters.
In a resolution, the DOJ said that Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Lim, and 20 others were cleared due to lack of evidence. “Our law enforcement agencies shall gather more concrete and competent evidence proving that respondents and other individuals are indeed involved in illegal drug activities,” it said, adding that the police can file charges again.
“The dismissal is a slight bump on the war against drugs, it is likewise a wake up to all concerned that our efforts, from apprehension to resolution to conviction must be concerted and thorough,” Aguirre said, noting that the clearing of the case against the suspects does not mean that they don’t anymore have criminal liabilities.
In the case of Napoles, Justice Undersecretary Erickson Balmes did not give further details. Apparently, Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Ma. Nerissa Molina-Carpio signed a certification for the alleged pork barrel queen to be partially admitted to the DOJ’s witness program since February 27, but was announced only today.
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