Napoles camp told arrest impending, lawyer says

Posted at 08/15/2013 8:00 PM | Updated as of 08/15/2013 8:22 PM

MANILA - The camp of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles was tipped off on the Department of Justice's (DOJ) resolution that sought her arrest for serious illegal detention, her lawyer said Thursday.

Lawyer Lorna Kapunan, in an interview with radio dzMM, said they earlier filed two motions at Makati court to prevent Napoles' arrest.

"Nag-file kami nung mabalitaan namin na magrereverse ang Department of Justice sa earlier resolution. Nagfile po kami ng 2 motion sa court, (including) defer issuance of warrant of arrest," she said.

Napoles is now considered by the DOJ as a high-profile fugitive.

Judge Elmo Almeda of the Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 150 issued an arrest warrant Wednesday against her and her brother, Reynald Lim, for serious illegal detention of whistleblower Benhur Luy. No bail was recommended.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Thursday that the Napoles camp was tipped off about the arrest warrant.

"Natunugan na niya, obviously; she's well-connected. Her lawyers were there (RTC) even before the NBI [agents] were there," she said. "Hindi na kami nagugulat na ganyan dahil sa resources ng mga ganyan."

De Lima said she has ordered an investigation into the leak, which she believes to be becoming from the DOJ itself.

Kapunan, however, said they were only informed about the actual arrest warrant from the media announcement made by De Lima.

'Napoles has no plans to leave PH'

Kapunan said she has lost all contact with her client.

She, however, believes that Napoles has no plans to leave the country and hide overseas.

"Hindi po namin nakakausap but wala ho siyang balak na umalis dito kasi matagal na naming sinasabi na gusto niyang mag-appear sa NBI para sa pork scam scandal na iyan, magbigay ng ebidensiya na lahat ng accusation na iyan, against her, are baseless," she told dzMM.

"Bakit naman siya tatakbo?" she asked.

Kapunan said Napoles' lawyers are doing their best "to protect her interest."

Scapegoat?

She believes that her client, who has been tagged in the fertilizer fund scam, the pork barrel scam, and Malampaya fund mess all amounting to billions of pesos, is only being used as a "scapegoat" or a "smokescreen" to protect some government officials.

"Baka talagang may special operations na gawin scapegoat or smokescreen si Mrs. Napoles para mawala iyung mga accusations sa mga mayor, senator, congressmen na iyan. They now have a convenuient accused. Lahat na iyan, for the last 10 to 15 years, meron talagang nagnanakaw diyan na senador, congressman, mayor," she said.

"Bakit noon, inembistigahan iyan ng Senado, bakit hindi lumitaw ang pangalan ng Mrs. Napoles? Bakit kay Benhur Luy lang lumabas ang pangalan na iyan?" she asked.

Former Sen. Ramon "Jun" Magsaysay Jr., however, earlier told dzMM that Napoles was already summoned to a Senate investigation on the P728 million fertilizer fund scandal in 2006.

However, senators failed to investigate Napoles because Malacañang barred government officials and other resource persons from attending the probe.

Kapunan also lashed out at the alleged persecution of Napoles.

"I can understand as a person how she feels. This is not humane what they are doing to her, their daily persecution sa media, sa kanilang undue speed with the way they secured a warrant of arrest," she added.

She said her client is also traumatized, citing what she called as an "inquisition by the Philippine Daily Inquirer" of Napoles.