MANILA, Philippines—“Where does she get the nerve to tell lies?” said Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Tuesday referring to Janet Lim-Napoles, the center of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or “pork barrel” scam.
Santiago, with full certainty, answered, “From her pork barrel warriors.”
“Her (Napoles) pork barrel warriors defend and protect her. These men are hiding, buried and embedded in the implementing agencies, worst, in the Senate and Congress,” she said in an interview with Radyo Inquirer 990 AM.
Santiago believes that there were many possible brains, not only Napoles, behind the scheme diverting congressional funds to ghost projects and dummy non-government organizations (NGOs).
“Para bang pinapapaintindi nila siya na ‘anuman ang mangyari, ako ang mananagot, ako ang sasagot sa ‘yo (It’s like they are conditioning Napoles that whatever happens, they got her covered ),” she said.
Two of the probable masterminds Santiago mentioned include the head of the implementing agencies and the PDAF-releasing office, Department of Budget and Management, which was headed by Secretary Florencio Abad.
Witnesses of the pork barrel scam have implicated DBM as an accessory to the scheme, noting the 15 percent share the agency gets before approving project funds for Napoles’ ghost projects.
“Napoles also has government officials who served as her protectors that’s why she had the guts to steal from the money of the people,” added Santiago.
INQUIRER.net earlier reported that a whopping 40 to 60 percent of the millions of peso-fund allegedly went to the pockets of lawmakers, who were cohorts of Napoles.
Threats to Napoles’ life
Vile enough to predict Napoles’ fate, Santiago said that politicians linked to the businesswoman’s widespread racket might be her friend or her enemy in the end.
“It can cut both ways, the lawmakers might silence Napoles and plan to assassinate her,” she said.
“Or they can tighten her security and protection , all the more she would chose not to blow the whistle,” added Santiago.
Napoles was detained at Fort Santo Domingo in Santa Rosa, Laguna province for the serious illegal detention case filed by the principal whistle-blower of the scam, Benhur K. Luy.
On Monday, plunder charges were filed against Napoles, Senate minority leader Juan Ponce Enrile, Senators Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. and 34 others.