Aquino belittles Napoles' credibility
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A day after alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles' signed affidavit was released to the Senate and the media, President Benigno Aquino III expressed little trust in her testimony and belittled her credibility.
On Tuesday, May 27, on the sidelines of the Philippine Navy's 116th anniversary in Palawan, Aquino told reporters his administration will follow the evidence especially because Napoles is possibly muddling the issue.
"Sinabi ko naman sa inyo from the start, hindi ba bukas tayo sa posibilidad na ang ginagawa lang niya ay guluhin iyong istorya habang dumadami ng dumadami, dumadami ng dumadami iyong iimbestigahan natin. Dulo kakaimbestiga, kakaimbestiga na-time's up na tayo. Hindi na nasampa iyong kaso baka iyong ang strategy," he said.
(Like I said from the beginning, we are open to the possibility that she is just messing up the story while the list of those we are investigating grows longer and longer and longer. So in the end we keep investigating that my time will run out. Maybe that's her strategy so we don't file any cases).
The President also said Napoles may be using delaying tactics in hopes that the next administration will be easier to talk to, and will help her find a way out.
Aquino again defended his Cabinet secretaries, Budget Secretary Butch Abad and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, both of whom were mentioned by Napoles as being involved in the country's biggest corruption scandal in recent history. (READ: How credible is Janet Napoles?)
He questioned why everyone seemed to suddenly believe Napoles.
"In the past everyone seemed to hate Mrs. Napoles. Now, when she says something, it's as if it's the gosepl truth. How did that happen?," he said.
"Besides, is it not in her interest to blur the story, to lengthen the process so that people would forget? Who knows, maybe someone even advised her, 'The longer this goes, it'll be better for you. People's hate for you will lessen.'"
Aquino said it is up to the people to decide who to believe but said he is not quick to believe the affidavit of the woman who is asking to be state witness.
"Kung hindi mo kayang bumango, pabahuin mo lahat (If you can't look good, make everyone else look bad)," he said of her strategy.
"Now if we decide to respond favorably to her courting, that's up to us. But for me, we will look for the evidence because if someone is guilty, we will find it."
Aquino also shared he was shown photos of alleged checks of lawmakers and of Napoles, but said he was not shown the back part of the checks which contain the verified stamps of banks.
"So I don't even know if the transaction went through or not. There are vouchers - but those are the type that can be bought in a bookstore. So my question is: 'If that type of evidence is presented, is that sufficient proof? Along with her testimony?,'" he said.
Napoles is accused of conniving with lawmakers to channel their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to her bogus non-governmental organizations in exchange for hefty kickbacks. Her affidavit details alleged transactions, including deals she made with 20 former and incumbent senators.
She, along with several lawmakers, faces charges for the non-bailable crime of plunder. - with reports from Carmela Fonbuena in Palawan and Natashya Gutierrez in Manila/Rappler.com