MANILA, Philippines – What is to be expected in the much-sought-for affidavit of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles?
A few hours prior to the submission of the document to the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday, May 26, Napoles’ lawyer Stephen David said at least 18 “incumbent, former, and deceased” senators and 100 representatives were implicated by Napoles. (READ: Napoles names 8 more senators)
“May nadagdag. Kagabi, nakita ko may 18 senators… Umalis ako 3:30, eh natapos daw sila mga 7,” he said, implying that there are 7 senators added by Napoles to her initial, duly signed list. (There were [names] added. Last night, I saw there were 18 senators… I left at 3:30, but they finished at around 7pm.)
Bruce Rivera, also Napoles’ lawyer, said the document was more than 30 pages and covered transactions made by Napoles from years 2000 to 2009.
“Napoles has been recalling everything. So when she checked her records, there are more that had transactions,” he said in a chance interview at the DOJ after the submission.
Rivera said the extended affidavit may be supplemented with an additional testimony from Napoles, should the Napoles camp find more documents implicating more lawmakers.
Napoles’ affidavit is the subject of a subpoena by the Senate blue ribbon committee, which is probing for purposes of legislation an alleged massive ploy to divert lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bogus projects of non-governmental organizations that she supposedly controlled.
DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima is expected to submit Napoles’ affidavit to the Senate on Monday, the deadline given to her by the committee.
The corruption scandal, which was exposed last year by Napoles’ relative and longtime aide, Benhur Luy, initially linked opposition lawmakers to the scam. But Napoles’ affidavit now implicates allies of the Aquino administration.
She finished it while recovering at the Ospital ng Makati after a surgery.
Earlier, De Lima submitted before the Senate committee a list of individuals Napoles implicated in the scam. The list was made public by Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona III, despite a request by De Lima not to do so. De Lima said the disclosure of the Napolist was imprudent. (READ: De Lima: Guingona’s release of ‘Napolist’ imprudent)
The list dubbed Napolist included 12 senators. Rivera later on clarified that Senator JV Ejercito was falsely included.
On Monday, Rivera said each person named in the signed Napolist previously submitted to the DOJ was included in narration.
“We avoided making it appear as a list, that’s why it’s in affidavit form,” he said.
The lawyer refused to elaborate on the content of Napoles’ signed and duly signed narration, invoking a confidentiality agreement under the rules of the DOJ Witness Protection Program (WPP).
“It will jeopardize my client’s wishes,” Rivera said, also refusing to provide an approximation of the number of newly-implicated lawmakers.
Rivera was referring to Napoles’ application as a state witness, formalized through a letter dated May 15.
Napoles met with De Lima on April 21 evening to initiate the turning over of her testimony, although being admitted as a state witness was not made a pre-condition for the meeting.
Not the work of one person
Rivera maintained that Napoles is not the most guilty in the multi-million-peso PDAF scam. He, however, admitted that Napoles is also “not the least guilty.” (READ: No immunity for Napoles’ children, say senators)
“You can’t work alone in the PDAF scam,” he said, adding that it’ll take the participation of lawmakers and implementing agencies for the scheme to work. – Rappler.com