MANILA, Philippines—From unintelligible answers during the Aug. 8 Inquirer round-table discussion, Janet Lim-Napoles’ replies to the questions of the senators when she appeared at the Senate’s blue ribbon committee hearing on Thursday included:
“Hindi ko po alam.”
“Hindi ko maalala.”
“Hindi ko matandaan.”
“I invoke my right against self-incrimination.”
“May kaso na ho sa Ombudsman.”
“May kaso na po sa BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue).”
At one point during the Inquirer round-table discussion, Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the P10-billion pork barrel scam, refused to reveal the supposed clients of whistle-blower and key witness Benhur Luy, saying she would disclose their identities when the Senate or House of Representatives conducts an inquiry on the issue.
This, however, was not the case when Napoles appeared at the Senate on Thursday. She instead claimed she could not remember when posed with questions about the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) controversy.
During the Inquirer round-table discussion, Napoles said she was not the boss of Luy and hinted that another woman she refused to name was the real boss. Citing the Inquirer interview, Sen. Francis Escudero asked her who was the real boss of Luy. Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano asked the same question but all Napoles could say was, “Hindi ko maalala.”
As expected, Napoles invoked her right against self-incrimination.
“I invoke my right against self-incrimination,” Napoles replied when repeatedly asked by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago if she knew the senators who were facing plunder charges in the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly channeling the PDAF into ghost projects and kickbacks.
Napoles, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr., and 34 others are facing investigation in the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the scam.
Napoles also invoked her right against self-incrimination when asked by Santiago to name the person who was the most guilty. Santiago explained that Napoles could qualify as a state witness if she is not the most guilty.
Saying that there was a case pending in the Office of the Ombudsman, Napoles also refused to answer other questions about the PDAF scam, such as those about the nongovernment organizations she had established.
On the questions of how she acquired her wealth and grew her businesses, Napoles said she would address this issue in the BIR, where a tax evasion case was filed against her and her husband, Jaime.—Ana Roa, Inquirer Research