MANILA, Philippines – Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago suspects that a senator or group of senators, and not Janet Lim-Napoles, might be the real “mastermind” in the P10-billion “pork barrel” scam.
Santiago doubts that Napoles, who has no position in government, would have that kind of courage to get into that situation if there was no powerful person that she knew would protect her.
Asked then who would be the “mastermind” in the scam if it were not Napoles, the senator said: “It should be a senator, or a group of senator. Hindi sya maglalakas loob na ganyan… (She can’t be that smart).”
“Kaya ang mga [Chinese] mahilig makipag kaibigan sa mga senador. Hanapin mo ang bestfriend, ang BBF ng mga [Chinese], yun ang corrupt na senador… (That is why Chinese tend to befriend senators. Find their best friend and you will discover it is a corrupt senator),” she said at a press conference in the Senate on Wednesday.
Asked if she knows Napoles, Santiago said: “Hindi. Siguro kilala nya ako pero sya hindi (No. She might know me but I don’t know her). We’ve never met.”
And if Napoles will identify her protectors, then the senator said she could qualify as a state witness.
“Kung yun ang gawin nya (If she would do that), I will agree that she will no longer be the most guilty,” she said.
But Santiago said Napoles need not have to be a state witness to tell the truth because if a case would be filed against her in connection with the alleged misuse of legislators’ priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or “pork barrel” funds, then she has no choice but to tell the truth to defend herself.
At present, Napoles has been charged only with serious illegal detention of whistle-blower Benhur Luy.
Santiago said the government must also file a case against her as well as the congressmen and senators involved in the pork scam.
“If the senators and the congressmen are not charged… it will show that we senators are special breed. Do not touch us. We are not ordinary human beings…,” she added.