As ‘pork’ heats up, Legarda mad, Marcos relieved over Napoles affidavit
MANILA, Philippines — A “perjured lie” and “actionable criminally” was how Senator Loren Legarda described her alleged involvement in the “pork barrel” scam as she denied “in the strongest terms” any dealings with suspected scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
“I categorically deny, in the strongest terms, allegations that I had any dealings with Ms. Napoles or any of her group. I have never dealt with them and have never even heard of their foundations,” Legarda said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Above all, I have never received monetary or any form of illegal benefit from my PDAF or its equivalent at any time. I have never authorized anyone in my staff or outside of my office to transact with anyone,” she said.
PDAF is Priority Development Assistance Fund also known as “pork nbarrel” funds.
Legarda said she has “judiciously allocated” her PDAF to accredited government agencies and local government units as prescribed by law, and not to any non-government organizations (NGO).
“I never endorsed any NGO to benefit from my PDAF. Any statement to the contrary contained in any affidavit is a perjured lie and is actionable criminally against those involved in this smear campaign,” she said.
Asked then if she was planning to file criminal charges against Napoles, Legarda said her lawyers were still studying all media reports and submitted affidavits to the Senate.
“There is clearly a massive well-funded operation to muddle the issues, divert from the cases, besmirch reputations of people with credibility,” she said in a text message.
Legarda was among those mentioned by Napoles in her affidavit that she submitted to the Senate blue ribbon committee in connection with the “pork” scam.
Senator Ferdinand “Bong-Bong” Marcos, meanwhile, felt that Napoles has cleared him of any participation in the scam when she admitted in the affidavit that she did not know the senator and that she had not directly talked to him.
“The Affidavit speaks for itself. As I’ve said from day one, I never met Ms. Napoles. I never spoke to her nor did I ever have any personal dealings with her. Ms. Napoles’ affidavit confirms this fact,” Marcos said in a separate statement.
“While Ms. Napoles has cleared me of any participation in the PDAF scam, let me reiterate, once more, that my office is willing to fully cooperate with the concerned government agencies so we may all get to the bottom of this,” he said.
In her affidavit, Napoles claimed that it was Catherine Mae “Maya” Santos, who served as agent of both Legarda and Marcos.
Marcos admitted that Santos was “engaged” as consultant by various committees in the Senate and was detailed to his office from January 2001 to June 2013.
But after the State of the Nation Address in July 2012, Marcos said he reorganized his office in the Senate and adopted a system whereby all departments were required to submit an annual “Year End Report” for internal purposes.
“Consequently, on 31 January 2013, all departments were requested to submit their reports for the previous year,” he said.
But since his office has not received any “Year End Report” from Santos despite several verbal and written requests to submit the same, Marcos said, he was “constrained” to terminate her consultancy services on March 21, 2013.
“It is instructive to note that Ms. Santos’ consultancy was terminated in March 2013 –four months before the PDAF scam became public,” he pointed out.
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