30 Aug 2013

Woman in Philippine graft scandal gives up

5:49 am on 30 August 2013

A Philippine businesswoman suspected of helping legislators embezzle 10 billion pesos ($US230 million) in government funds has surrendered to President Benigno Aquino.

Clad in jeans, pink sneakers and a hoodie, Janet Napoles surrended at the Malacanang presidential palace on Wednesday.

She had eluded a nationwide police hunt as details of her family's lavish lifestyle fuelled outrage in social media.

"Now that we got her, we can bring her to court," Aquino spokesman Edwin Lacierda said on Thursday. "We are doing our best to further bring us closer to the truth."

Mr Lacierda said he met Ms Napoles at a cemetery in Manila on Wednesday night and took her to the palace after her lawyer alerted the government that she wanted to surrender.

A mass protest was held on Monday demanding her arrest and the abolition of a fund that is supposed to finance MPs' pet development schemes. Critics say they are "pork barrel" projects which are a source of corruption.