MANILA, August 29, 2013— Catholic bishops challenged the government for the immediate prosecution of controversial businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles who surrendered to President Benigno Aquino III.
Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said the ball is at the hands of the state authorities now they have under their custody the trader at the center of a P10-billion pork barrel scam has surrendered.
”Her (Napoles) being under government custody is now a step closer in the direction of justice. The direction is RIP. Reject corruption. Investigate fully. Prosecute immediately,” he said.
Villegas is the current vice president and incoming president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
Reportedly fearing for her life, Napoles gave herself up to Aquino Wednesday night just hours after a P10 million bounty was put up for information leading to her arrest.
Napoles is wanted for alleged serious illegal detention of pork barrel scam whistle blower Benhur Luy last year. She will be detained at the Makati City Jail.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo is hoping that the investigation ”will be transparent” and should spare no one, not even allies of the Aquino administration.
The bishop said there should be no partisan considerations in the investigation that the pork barrel was misused by some senators and congressmen.
”We hope that the investigation will not be selective. All those who committed mistakes must be prosecuted, not just those from the opposition but also their allies,” Pabillo said.
In Iloilo, Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said it’s about time for Napoles to spill the beans on which politicians may have been involved in the scam.
“It’s the beginning of honesty for the sake of common good. Let us watch what will happen to the money. It is only the beginning,” Lagdameo said.
Isabela de Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad, meanwhile lauds Napoles’ decision to surrender and asked her to cooperate in the investigation.
”The truth will set her free,” Jumaod said. ”She must tell everything because all of us want to know the truth. I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide her to tell the truth.”
For his part, Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez called on Napoles to ”repent” by returning to the government whatever wealth that she acquired illegally.
”Return any illegally and immorally acquired wealth. Make reparation. Repent. Congress. My prayers,” said Gutierrez. (CBCPNews)