Napoles who? I’ve never met her, and other denials
MANILA, Philippines—Senators whose names appeared in the digital files of whistle-blower Benhur Luy on Tuesday denied either knowing Janet Lim-Napoles or having had dealings with her in the alleged diversion of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to dubious nongovernment organizations (NGOs).
The Inquirer tried but failed to get any comment at press time from Senators Gregorio Honasan, Vicente Sotto III, Lito Lapid and Juan Ponce Enrile.
Senate President Franklin Drilon
“I have never dealt with any Napoles NGO. One of the whistle-blowers, if not Benhur himself, submitted an affidavit saying that they approached me soliciting assignment of my PDAF to the Napoles NGOs, and they confirmed that I refused.
“Official records regarding my PDAF utilization confirm this. Not a single centavo of the PDAF allotted to me as senator went to any Napoles NGO. The only NGO I have dealt with is the FFCCCII (Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry) to build 1,600 classrooms nationwide. Details of my PDAF are available online and open for public scrutiny.”
Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano
“I’m totally surprised because when the [pork barrel scam] investigation started, to ensure the credibility of those in the (Senate blue ribbon) committee, I asked Benhur if there was anyone in the room who was involved, and he said none.
“I can look anyone in the eye and say that I never transacted on a single cent with Janet Lim-Napoles,” said the lawmaker, saying it would be “sort of ridiculous” to do so given his known advocacy against wrongdoing in government.
He said he would face any investigation and would subject himself to the same standards under which the Senate had demanded accountability from fellow lawmakers earlier implicated in the scam.
Sen. Loren Legarda
“I categorically deny any alleged involvement with Ms. Janet Napoles. I do not know her and have never dealt with her personally or otherwise. I have never endorsed any NGO to benefit from my PDAF. Any statement to the contrary that may be in her supposed affidavit is a perjured lie and is actionable criminally against her and all those involved in this political smear campaign.”
Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III
“I already charged them in the Ombudsman (Tuesday) for forging a letter that asked for P30 million for three provinces. I saw a MOA (memorandum of agreement) between the Department of Agriculture and one province, good for P10 million. How will you know the existence of a forged letter unless brought to your attention?
“If that appears in the ledger of Luy, therefore, I should charge him also because he knows about the transaction. It’s now apparent that Luy knew about this even before I discovered the forged letter on September 2013 (the letter was dated October 2012), and that means he knew of the transaction. I should amend my complaint to the Ombudsman to include him.”
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada
Estrada said it also did not bother him that even his mother, former Sen. Luisa “Loi” Ejercito, was included in the list. “OK lang … not at all.”
In a separate interview with Senate reporters, Estrada lamented that it was “automatic” for him to be linked to the scam. “I’m immune already. I’m so stressed,” he said.
Former Sen. Edgardo Angara
“I’ve already denied it as early as September when it first came out, and since then it has not been repeated until recently because there’s no truth to it and many media outlets have not carried it. I have absolutely no dealings with Mrs. Napoles or Luy.
“Who’s in charge of the store now? The national agenda has been hijacked and held hostage by these sinister groups behind this black propaganda, and sadly, they are dictating the national agenda now and the reform agenda of the government has become secondary. The longer this is allowed to pester, government’s credibility and capacity will be surely eroded.”
Former Sen. Rodolfo Biazon, now Muntinlupa representative
It was possible that some of his pork barrel had gone to NGOs linked to Napoles. But he had not met or talked with Napoles for any project.
What most likely happened was that the governors or mayors who had sought assistance from him for projects such as dryers, milling or palay storage had either chosen the NGOs through which the funds would be released, or had left the matter up to the implementing agencies.
This was how the system worked when he was senator. “All you have to do is write to have the funds released to the implementing agency. So the funds are with them,” he said. “Who has custody of the funds? It’s agencies.”
Former Sen. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr.
“Am suing whoever made that false STATEMENT,” he said in a text message.
It’s no crime to assist LGUs. These are audited by LGU auditors, as a check and balance. More to the point, I never asked for or demanded or received one bloody cent as kickback from Napoles, Luy or any other scoundrel.”
Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago
“For the record, I never had dealings with Napoles. The Napoles list, if unsigned, has no evidentiary value at all … I am pushing to get the list of Benhur Luy. I understand that the Luy list is substantiated by documents and details.”
Former Sen. Manny Villar
“I have no personal nor official dealings with Napoles and her bogus NGOs ever. It is very unfair, not to mention totally baseless that my name is being dragged into this issue, which has now become so politicized.
“It seems like a new list is being drawn every day. I too hope for the truth to come out, which the taxpaying public justly deserves.”
Sen. JV Ejercito tweet
“I can’t believe that my name was included in the supposed Napolist of Ping Lacson. First I do not know Napoles at all. Never talked to her ever. Second, most of the Congressmen from the list came from 12th, 13th and 14th Congress. I was not part of the House of Representatives then. I belong to 15th Congress. I will not sign Blue Ribbon Committee report if I had anything to do with Napoles.”
Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
“No. I never (had transactions with Napoles). I’ve said it before … No contact. That I’m very, very confident about because that’s the truth.”
Sen. Ralph Recto
“That’s impossible. I suggest you read transcript of blue ribbon hearing re our exchanges. In addition, review your hard drive.
“My 2010 PDAF releases are posted in the website of the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) for the world to see. Most of the projects are for schools, roads. Not a single centavo went to an NGO or to the DA, DAR or agencies like TRC or Nabcor.”