MANILA, Philippines — Was the alleged brains of the P10 billion pork barrel scam going in and out of the Malacanang during the time of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo?
Partylist Representative Silvestre Bello III of 1-BAP, who served as justice secretary and peace negotiator, claimed that he saw Janet Lim-Napoles in Malacanang during Arroyo’s presidency.
“When I saw her on television, I thought to myself, I think I have seen her before in Malacanang,” he told reporters during a weekly media forum at the House of Representatives.
Napoles has been the subject of investigations into the supposed abuse on lawmakers’ priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or “pork barrel”, having been reported as the mastermind behind the scam which allegedly ran for almost a decade.
“I am not sure if that was really her. I did not meet her up close and to me she was just one of the visitors. But whenever I see her on television I think to myself, I have seen her before. I think it was in during the Arroyo administration,” he said.
Bello served as justice secretary from 1990 to 1992, Solicitor General from 1996 to 1998, and led the peace negotiations with the NPA-CPP-NDF.
The lawmaker also served as presidential adviser on new government centers in 2007 and as cabinet secretary in 2008.
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