I thought it was real so I switched the television on early Saturday morning to find out if Napoles was really caught by law enforcers but no, she’s still at large.
The wanted businesswoman, considered by the justice department as a “high profile fugitive,” has become subject of a massive manhunt after the Makati City regional trial court Branch 150 issued Wednesday afternoon a warrant of arrest for her and brother Jojo Lim.
The arrest warrants were released in connection with the illegal detention case filed against them by their relative and former employee Benhur Luy, the whistleblower who accused them of major involvement in the alleged misuse of about P10 billion pork barrel funds by lawmakers.
Malacañang and DOJ secretary Leila De Lima, who believes that Napoles was tipped off as the warrants were issued, appealed to the public to help authorities arrest Napoles and Lim.
On Friday, lawyers of Napoles asked the Court of Appeals to stop her arrest and to reverse an earlier decision of the DOJ.
The petition for certiorari reportedly accused the Makati RTC and the DOJ of “grave abuse of discretion” — the court for issuing the warrant “in haste,” and the DOJ for reversing its original ruling dismissing the criminal charges against the fugitives.
Also on Friday, the CA issued an order that bank accounts of Janet Lim Napoles, her children and brother, other relatives and staff, as well as those of the 28 non-government organizations (NGOs) identified with her trading firm, JLN Corp., be frozen for six months.
The freeze order addressed the petition filed by the Office of the Solicitor General on behalf of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).
De Lima announced Saturday that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has cancelled Napoles and Lim’s passports Friday night on the basis that they are both “fugitives from justice.”