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De Lima dares Napoles: Return wealth from PDAF scam

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Janet Lim Napoles, dubbed as the architect of the biggest corruption scandal to rock the country in recent history, should return her all the wealth that she acquired by funneling lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund to her ghost projects.

Senator Leila de Lima on Thursday issued the challenge to Napoles as well as to Justice Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre II amid efforts by the government to turn the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind into state witness.

De Lima said this is the only way to prove to the public that Napoles is not the most guilty.

“Aguirre is making a tempting offer for Napoles that is too hard to resist, that is to tell everything she knows against the expanded list of suspects in the pork barrel fund scam in exchange for her security, survival or political concessions,” she said.

“If the government really sees her as a credible state witness because it thinks she is a ‘minimal player’ in the multi-billion pork barrel fund scandal, I challenge Napoles to return the wealth she has acquired from all her illegal transactions,” De Lima added.

Napoles, following the expose of the PDAF scam, was reported to have numerous luxurious residential properties, including those in the United States, amount to about P495.1 million, as well as some 30 high-end vehicles.

She had claimed that she inherited her wealth from her parents and through a profitable coal mining business.

Aguirre is reported to be seriously entertaining the idea of turning Napoles into a state witness in the planned re-investigation of the pork barrel scam.

But De Lima said such move may only be part of a plan to go after administration’s critics and opponents by linking them to the scm.

“This government is using Napoles to blackmail and bully its critics and opponents. It will stop at nothing unless it can silence its dissenters and have their merry way of plunging our country into disaster,” she said.