For the meantime, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said they are giving Napoles’s claims that her life is in danger “the benefit of the doubt.”
“Even if hindi pa naba-validate, I think we can give these allegations the benefit of the doubt,” De Lima said on Friday, noting that the embattled businesswoman had formally told the Court of Appeals that there were threats to her security.
She said that in a motion filed with the CA, Napoles claimed being in “grave, imminent and real danger” and receiving death threats. Napoles, currently detained at the Makati City Jail, is asking the CA to allow her transfer to a safer detention cell.
“We can give this some preliminary merit na kasi possible nga namin dahil may mga ibang nadadawit ay magisip na gumawa ng masama,” De Lima said.
Napoles’s lawyer Lorna Kapunan had earlier cited these threats as reason why her client chose to surrender to President Benigno Aquino III, saying he’s the only one they could trust.
De Lima said the Philippine National Police is still currently verifying “credible information” that there are people who want to “silence” Napoles.
De Lima’s statement came a day after she told the media that she and the National Bureau of Investigation, which is under the Department of Justice (DOJ), were unaware of any threats to Napoles’s life.
On Friday, she explained, “Factually, yung NBI kasi wala namang assignment na paki-assess din nga yung security situation ni Mrs. Napoles. Hindi naman yun yung focus ng NBI, yung focus ng nila yung paghanap sa kanya, yung paghanap sa kanya at tsaka yung pag-case build up ng case.”
“Nung sinabi ko yun kahapon nung tinanong niyo, well, wala akong information from the NBI na mayroong security threats,” she added.
Napoles is currently detained at the Makati City Jail upon order from Judge Elmo Alameda of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 151, who handles the illegal detention case lodged against her and her brother Reynald Lim.
The two were accused of illegally detaining Napoles’s supposed employee and pork barrel scam whistleblower Benhur Luy from December 2012 to March 2013. — Mark Merueñas/KBK, GMA News