‘Napoles most guilty; her testimony not needed’

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Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said on Friday that Janet Lim-Napoles should be prosecuted instead of being made state witness.

Santiago, a former trial court judge and an elected magistrate to the International Criminal Court, said Napoles should not be allowed to escape prosecution “by the expedient of turning state witness.”

“There are five requirements for an accused to turn state witness. One of the requirements is that the accused does not appear to be the most guilty. Napoles will find it extremely difficult to prove her claim that she is not the most guilty,” Santiago said in a statement.

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, said Napoles was not at all qualified to be a state witness.

“The rule says the most guilty or those who seem or appear to be cannot be discharged as state witness,” Pimentel said.

“[Napoles] seems or appears to be the most guilty, hence she is disqualified to be a state witness,” he said.

Another thing working against Napoles’ becoming a state witness is the prosecution’s confidence of winning a conviction with or without her, Pimentel said.

“In short, there is no need for her to turn state witness. The prosecution doesn’t need her testimony,” he said.

Sen. Francis Escudero, whose resolution had enabled the Senate inquiry into the pork barrel scam that opened on Thursday, said Napoles should be able to point to someone more guilty than she.

“[S]he has been alleged to be the mastermind here. I don’t know anyone who could be more guilty than the mastermind herself,” Escudero on radio dzRH on Friday.

An alliance of religious groups yesterday said Napoles should not be tapped as a state witness.

Sr. Mary John Mananzan, cochair of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP), said Napoles should be prosecuted.

“I am glad that she surrendered. But excuse me, I don’t want her to be a state witness. She does not deserve impunity,” Mananzan said on Church-run Radio Veritas. With reports from Jocelyn R. Uy and Tina G. Santos

 

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