De Lima allegedly tried to extort money from Napoles

MANILA, Philippines - Senator Leila de Lima is accused of attempting to extort money from Janet Lim-Napoles, the so-called “pork-barrel queen.”

De Lima allegedly tried to extort money from Napoles

According to Napoles, the lady senator personally asked money from her when she was still Justice secretary in 2013 in exchange for not reopening her illegal detention case. Napoles disclosed that De Lima and several other personalities apparently threatened to reopen the case if she would not pay money.

“Wala naman po talagang illegal detention na nangyari... Ito po ay extortion lamang. Dismissed na po ang kaso na ito sa DOJ noon pa,” Napoles told reporters following the canceled proceedings of her pork barrel scam cases at the Sandiganbayan.

Napoles did not give any more details about the reported extortion.

Pork barrel scam whistle blower Benhur Luy, a former employee of Napoles, filed the serious illegal detention case against the latter after he was reportedly detained at a retreat house and later at a condominium unit in Taguig to bar him from exposing the scam.

In June 2013, the Department of Justice (DOJ) dismissed the case based on a letter Luy appeared to have sent his parents indicating he was not being held against his will.

However, a month later in July, the National Bureau of Investigation filed a motion for reconsideration before the DOJ appealing to bring back charges against Napoles.

De Lima, who was the justice secretary at that time, granted the motion allowing the charges to be filed before the Makati Regional Trial Court. On April 14, 2015, Napoles was convicted and sentenced to reclusion perpetua or up to 40 years in prison.

Recently, Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a "manifestation in lieu of rejoinder" before the Court of Appeals recommending the acquittal of the alleged mastermind behind the multibillion peso pork barrel scam for the illegal detention case.

Currently, Napoles is detained at the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City. Her brother Reynald “Jojo” Lim remains at large.

Last year, President Rodrigo Duterte has sought to revisit the case of Napoles vowing to disclose links between De Lima, his staunchest critic, with Napoles.

“Wait until we revisit the Napoles case, Secretary or Senator De Lima, and I assure you, you will be horrified,” Duterte said in a press conference in Davao City last year.

--Mini, The Summit Express

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