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Palace reiterates call for citizens to help track Napoles, brother

Malacañang on Friday reiterated its call for the public to help authorities in arresting fugitive siblings Janet Lim-Napoles and Reynald Lim, both accused of illegally detaining a whistleblower in the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam.

"The warrant is out. You can actually help the authorities," deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said at a press conference in Malacañang.

She made the statement after Justice Sec. Leila de Lima said citizen arrest is allowed since the case involves public interest.

"It’s actually possible. A citizen’s arrest is legal," said Valte, adding that it's understandable if ordinary Filipinos would be reluctant to do such action.

"It’s not uncommon in other countries but, here in the Philippines, it’s very uncommon," she said.

So if this [citizen arrest] cannot be done, Valte just reiterated the Palace's appeal for the public to call authorities in case they have any information about Napoles.

The Palace had specifically asked those with any information to call the NBI Operation Center's hotline 524-1141.

"When you’re talking about manpower, mas marami ho talaga tayong citizens kesa doon sa mga teams na nagsusubok e-apprehend si Mrs. Napoles. It would help greatly if information is given that would lead the tracker teams to her," Valte said.  

"[So] if you have information the NBI, the PNP, and the DOJ would be very happy to hear from you," she added.

The Department of Justice, meanwhile, has reportedly deployed 12 teams to track Napoles and her brother.

"Rest assured that the teams of the NBI are already out and are already following every lead that they have in order to apprehend Mrs. Napoles," said Valte.

Asked if their disappearance means they are guilty, Valte said: "the statement that flight is an indication of guilt is very well entrenched in jurisprudence."

"Jurisprudence did not make any exceptions, or did not indicate any," she said. — Kimberly Jane T. Tan /LBG, GMA News