Woman in $294m scandal surrenders to Philippine leader

Woman in $294m scandal surrenders to Philippine leader
Philippine President Benigno Aquino

MANILA - A Philippine businesswoman who allegedly connived with legislators to embezzle 10 billion pesos (S$294 million) in funds intended for development projects has surrendered directly to President Benigno Aquino, officials said Thursday.

Janet Napoles turned herself in to Aquino late Wednesday and asked for the president's protection.

"The president turned her over to the custody of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas and Philippine National Police director general Alan Purisima for processing and booking," Aquino's office said in a statement.

Roxas said Napoles, who had previously denied the allegations, had asked for protection from the president.

"She asked the president for assurance about her safety, so that not anyone can approach her or do what they want to her," Roxas said on ABS-CBN television Thursday.

The nature of the threat was not specified, and Aquino's office did not say who facilitated her surrender.

Aquino himself joined the group that brought Napoles to the police headquarters, Roxas said.

Her surrender comes three days after tens of thousands of Filipinos held a mass protest demanding her arrest and the abolition of legislators' controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

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