As questions linger over why businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles surrendered directly to President Benigno Aquino III, Malacanang on Thursday showed that it’s not too unusual a case.
The government website has posted a briefer on fugitives who personally surrendered to the chief executive the day after the so-called “pork barrel queen” submitted herself to Aquino.
The Official Gazette’s list showed at least five instances since 1936 when individuals wanted by authorities decided to surface only before the highest-ranking official in the land.
In fact, one of the former fugitives in the list includes a senator whose name has been dragged into the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam.
Like Napoles, Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, also faced a President to negotiate surrender.
Honasan, then the leader of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement, met President Fidel Ramos on Christmas Eve 1992. It led to the release of 43 rebel officers and RAM’s surrender of weapons.
On May 17, 1954, Huk Supremo Luis Taruc surrendered unconditionally to Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., then a reporter for the Manila Times, and President Ramon Magsaysay’s emissary.
Taruc had earlier submitted himself June 21 1948, to President Elpidio Quirino after the latter offered amnesty, but talks eventually collapsed August that year.
During the administration of President Manuel Quezon, meanwhile, two bandits from Tayabas, Quezon surrendered directly to the chief executive.
Nicolas Encollado sought pardon from Malacanang January 17, 1936. Three days after, another bandit, Teodoro Asedillo, was brought to Quezon personally.
The briefer comes amid concerns raised over what some groups said could be seen as “special treatment” for the central figure in the pork barrel controversy.
Government officials have meanwhile noted that it is not ruling out the possibility of enlisting Napoles as a state witness to identify erring lawmakers.
At least five senators and 23 congressmen have been accused of diverting their funds to nonexistent nongovernment organizations led by Napoles.
The Senate on Thursday launched an investigation on the scandal which has prodded Aquino to move for the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund.