By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
August 28, 2013
LOS ANGELES–A sigh of relief and a victory for Filipino activists as Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the pork barrel scam is finally in custody. Hours after president Aquino placed a 10 million pesos bounty on Napoles,
Malacanang announced that the wealthy business woman turned herself in.
Two weeks ago, an arrest warrant was issued for her and her brother Reynald lim for the illegal detention of their cousin Benhur Luy.
Luy is believed to have blown the whistle on Napoles’ alleged scam which involved taking pork barrel funds from lawmakers and putting them into bogus organizations.
The scam prompted global protests earlier this week and has made the philippine government consider procedures regarding public funds.
The same Los Angeles Filipino activists that rallied at a Napoles property over the weekend were at a human rights protest on Wednesday morning as they welcomed the development.
”Napoles turning herself in is really one step in us recognizing how large the system of corruption is,” , said Theresa Jaranilla, the Southern California coordinator for Bayan USA.
Filipinos believe this is a step in the right direction and are hoping Napoles will eventually spill the beans on which politicians may have been involved. They believe despite Aquino’s bounty, the president must still abolish the pork barrel system including his own. “Her turning herself into Aquino, you can see Aquino might use it to make people think he’s on the side of the people. But we need to remember he has the biggest pork barrel that needs to be abolished,” , explained Anakbayan secretary general Eric Tandoc.
The arrest warrant is only for the illegal detention charges, no charges have been filed in the pork barrel scheme as probes continue.
Malacanang palace offered no word on the progress with Reynald Lim.
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