MANILA, Philippines – Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima said on Tuesday, May 13, the different versions of the list of people involved in the pork barrel scam that had been circulating only caused the public more confusion.
Warning against premature speculations, she said in a chance interview: “Ayaw ko makadagdag pa mga scenario-scenario na ‘yan na kanya-kanyang pag-name ng names, na kanya-kanyang pagdi-disclose…. Nakakagulo pa ang ganyan.”
(I don’t like to add to scenarios that other people are creating by naming names or making individual disclosures. That causes mayhem.)
The justice secretary refused to divulge the names on the list that the DOJ got from alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, despite former Senator Panfilo Lacson already naming 5 of the lawmakers over a live television interview Monday evening.
Answering with a “yes” or “no” to names enumerated by the hosts on the ABS-CBN, Lacson confirmed that senators Chiz Escudero, Alan Cayetano, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, and Gringo Honasan were on the so-called “Napolist” supposedly provided to him by Napoles’ relatives.
He said senators Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon Revilla Jr, and Juan Ponce Enrile were also in the list. The 3 have been indicted for plunder over the scam.
Lacson also said Budget Secretary Florencio Abad is on the list. He said on Monday, May 12, that up to 21 former and current senators were included in the list.
Wait for Senate hearing
On Tuesday, De Lima confirmed she would be submitting to the Senate the list in her possession on or before Thursday, May 15, in compliance to the subpoena the legislative chamber issued.
De Lima clarified that the Senate’s order, a subpoena duces tecum, only mandates submission of documents and not yet appearing for testimony before the Senate.
“Siguro titingnan muna nila [ang] listahan, titingnan nila ang affidavit kapag na-submit. And they will decide when to disclose that also to the public or when to set for hearing, at ‘yan na ang magiging forum for the disclosure,” she said.
(Maybe they will first look at the list and the affidavit to be submitted. And they will decide when to disclose that to the public or when to set for hearing, which will then be the forum for disclosure.)
De Lima advised the public to just wait for the Senate hearing, but also asked the Senate “to exercise prudence, circumspection, and utmost responsibility in handling the list and the affidavit” of Napoles.
Napoles testimony not yet complete
Media frenzy over the so-called “Napolist” transpired after Napoles met with De Lima on April 21, with Lacson and whistleblower Sandra Cam claiming to have their own versions of the list submitted separately to them by other sources.
Prior to the 5-hour meeting, Napoles was seen as the brains behind the scam which illegally diverted lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bogus projects of non-governmental organizations associated with her. Napoles has since denied being mastermind.
De Lima said Tuesday Napoles’ testimony – a tell-all of what she knows about the scam – has yet to be completed. If the DOJ is unable to acquire Napoles’ full testimony in writing, De Lima said she would appeal to the Senate to extend the deadline for the DOJ.
De Lima, however, is ready to submit anytime the list that Napoles submitted to her during their April meeting.
Also on Tuesday, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) protested in front of the DOJ, calling the DOJ’s refusal to release the list as a “cover-up” to protect allies of President Benigno Aquino III.
“Malacañang has resorted to claiming there are several lists whose contents are doubtful. It is an elaborate scheme to confuse the public and protect the beneficiaries of the pork scam,” said Bayan secretary general Nato Reyes.
“Prolonging the release of the list only fuels suspicion that various parties are engaging in maneuvers and horse-trading. Everyone wants to cover up something, while the public is left to wonder when justice will eventually be served,” Reyes added. – Rappler.com
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