EDITORIAL - Flight
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - August 16, 2013 - 12:00am

She built her fortune on coal trading, according to businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles. The details of the purported business, however, could use elaboration. This is if Napoles wants the public to believe her denial of reports that she came into enormous wealth by acting as the conduit of certain lawmakers for funneling their pork barrel allotments to non-existent non-government organizations.

With her disappearance, the accusations against Napoles gain more traction, including one for serious illegal detention for which she is now the subject of a manhunt. Napoles’ camp says the arrest warrant was issued with unseemly haste. But Napoles surely knows that in this country where jumping to conclusions is a national pastime, flight is seen as a sign of guilt. She may believe she can defend her case before a judicial court, but she is losing in the court of public opinion. The sooner she and her brother Reynald Lim surface, the better for their credibility.

Law enforcers, for their part, should do a better job of catching what Justice Secretary Leila de Lima described yesterday as a “high-profile fugitive.” Napoles’ case allows a “citizen’s arrest” if the opportunity presents itself, De Lima told the public. The story on the pork barrel scandal has been running for several weeks now while the serious illegal detention case is several months old. Napoles’ notoriety also started way back in 1998, when she was linked to an anomalous P3.8-million purchase of 500 Kevlar helmets for the Marines. She should’ve been on someone’s watch list a long time ago.

Now, with arrest warrants out for Napoles and her brother, authorities should avoid adding her to the growing list of high-profile fugitives. While the manhunt is on, authorities should also see to it that questionable earnings are not laundered and cannot be enjoyed by the fugitives’ relatives anywhere in the world. As important as putting felons behind bars is showing that crime proceeds cannot be enjoyed.

 

ARREST BUT NAPOLES CASE DE LIMA JANET LIM NAPOLES JUSTICE SECRETARY LEILA KEVLAR NAPOLES NOW REYNALD LIM
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