Napoles admits mistake in pork scam list
MANILA, Philippines – It was the grandfather, not the grandson.
The camp of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles on Thursday, May 29, admitted they made a mistake in including Cebu 1st district Representative Gerald Gullas Jr in the list of lawmakers implicated in the corruption scam.
“Last night, JLN [Janet Lim Napoles] noticed the mistake. It is not Gerald Gullas [Jr], but Eduardo Gullas,” Napoles’ counsel Bruce Rivera told reporters in a text message.
Gerald is a neophyte lawmaker who won his first congressional seat during the May 2013 elections. Eduardo, his grandfather, was a member of Congress from 2004-2013.
(Editor's note: We earlier reported that Representative Gerald Gullas is the son of former representative Eduardo Gullas. We have since corrected the error.)
Early on, the younger Gullas questioned his inclusion in Napoles’ initial list submitted to De Lima. The Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order on the release of lawmakers’ pork barrel on September 10, 2013, two months after he assumed the post as Cebu representative.
Rivera said it was an error on their part. Napoles’ transaction records only indicated dealings with a “Gullas.” “The secretary who encoded the list assumed it was the incumbent that was implicated,” said Rivera.
According to a Commission on Audit special audit covering 2007-2009, the older Gullas poured money into the Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc, a non-governmental organization that was later found without any address.
Rivera added the mistake was made “due to pressure to finish the second affidavit on the scheduled deadline.” Napoles initially was given until May 23 to submit her second affidavit to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who in turn would submit it to the Senate.
Medical issues, however, delayed the completion of the list. The deadline was extended to May 26.
“Typographical errors like this can be easily committed in stressful situations. It is one of the reasons why we preferred the [justice department or the National Bureau of Investigation] to verify the names and entries first before it should have been released to the public,” added Rivera.
In previous interviews, Rivera said they did not initiate the release of Napoles’ list and affidavit. In fact, Napoles and her legal team would rather the list be kept hidden pending verification.
De Lima had requested the Senate to keep the documents confidential, but blue ribbon committee chairman Senator TG Guingona said they would release them “in the spirit of transparency.”
Mistake on JV Ejercito, too
It’s not the first time Napoles’ list was tainted by encoding errors. Shortly after the release of her initial list submitted to De Lima, Napoles asked that Senator JV Ejercito’s name be removed because of an encoding mistake.
Napoles, accused of pocketing millions of pesos in pork barrel funds through bogus projects and non-governmental organizations, now wants to turn state witness.
In her affidavit, Napoles said she was only the “victim of a wrong system in society that [she] thought was normal and legal because this became the practice for a long time.” – Rappler.com