Napoles’ offer to become state witness on pork scam hangs — Valte
MANILA, Philippines — As the public quibbles over her lists of politicians who took part in the pork barrel scam, Janet Lim Napoles’ fate as a possible state witness in the P10-billion pork barrel scam hangs in the air, according to Malacañang.
The Department of Justice has not decided on Napoles’ offer to turn state witness pending the completion of her affidavit, Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over radio.
“At this point, it’s not clear yet. As we speak, her affidavit is not yet complete and has not been submitted. So at this point, we really don’t know,” Valte said over State-run dzRB.
Napoles’ different lists of alleged players in the scam, including senators, House representatives and Cabinet officials, have been leaked to the media over the past several weeks.
Her signed list was disclosed by the Senate blue ribbon committee last Thursday after getting a copy from Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, but this has failed to stop speculations as to who really took part in the scam.
Napoles’ former chief aide, Benhur Luy, has kept his own ledgers of her transactions, which indicated that more lawmakers, including at least 25 senators, dealt with her.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, whose name is in Napoles and Luy’s lists, has dared Napoles to back up her list with evidence otherwise she’d blow her chance at turning state witness.
Over radio on Saturday, Senator Sergio Osmeña III conceded that his colleagues named in the lists “have come under the gun,” and would have to clear their names in court.
“I don’t know how to advise the alleged accused. They will be given their day in court,” he said on radio.
The senator agreed with Senate President Franklin Drilon’s observation that the chamber wasn’t teetering toward crisis.
“I can see that the senators mentioned in the lists are under the gun, but they continue to function as senators,” he said.
The senator, vice chairman of the blue ribbon committee, defended the move of committee chair Senator Teofisto Guingona III to release the Napoles list to the press last Thursday. “It’s for the sake of transparency,” he said.
Valte said the Executive Department has no information on the fate of Senators Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon Revilla Jr., who have been fighting indictment for plunder over the scam before the Sandiganbayan.
She said she received information that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, whose final ruling on the motions for reconsideration by the three senators has been much awaited these past few days, has taken an overseas trip.
“We don’t have that information [on arrest] at this point. It would be entirely dependent on the Sandiganbayan. While the Ombudsman already has their findings, I understand that other respondents filed a motion for reconsideration. And I understand that the Ombudsman has apparently left the country for official business,” she said.
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