De Lima: No secret deal with Napoles

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima on Wednesday allayed worries of the whistleblowers and their lawyers of the possibility of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles turning state witness.

De Lima is hoping to meet the whistleblowers and/or their lawyers next week after they claimed in a press conference that Napoles' statements may inject doubts into existing revelations and documents related to the corruption of public funds.

The justice secretary's five-hour meeting with Napoles on Monday created an impression that the whistleblowers were kept out of the loop.

"It was not prudent for me to be advising or to be notifying anyone else that I would visit her. I will explain," de Lima said. "I want to assure them (whistleblowers) personally. They might think there is a secret deal or what with Mrs. Napoles."

De Lima said the businesswoman is not eyeing to become state witness in exchange for her tell-all testimony, a turnaround from months of denial over her involvement in the scam of siphoning off billions of pesos of lawmakers' Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

The Justice Secretary, however, indicated that Napoles' statements would be evaluated to determine if she can be recommended for such status with the Office of the Ombudsman, the prosecutor in the cases to be filed before the Sandiganbayan.

Napoles' credibility can always be questioned considering that she already denied her participation in the anomaly but de Lima said it would be better to give her a chance to come clean.

"But I cannot be assuring everyone that she is telling the truth. I am not God. I cannot read her (Napoles) mind. What is important is that we are listening to her. It would be an abdication of my duty as a truth seeker not to listen to anyone who has offered to tell her story," she said.

De Lima said on Tuesday that Napoles spilled the beans on the culpability of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., who had been indicted for plunder by the Ombudsman. (Sunnex)

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