De Lima hits release of Napoles' draft testimony

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima expressed disappointment on Wednesday over the release of Janet Napoles' unsigned affidavit listing her alleged conspirators in the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam, implying that the document does not hold water since it is just a mere scrap of paper.

She asked the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, which released the draft affidavit forwarded by former Senator Panfilo Lacson, to be prudent in handling the matter.

"Disappointed ako in a sense that is just supposed to be a submission. Yung subpoena to us, to me and to Secretary Ping (Lacson) is the submission of the list and affidavit. So ang implied understanding is that wala muna dapat premature disclosure to the public at this point lalo na di pa na-submit ang pinaka affidavit ni Mrs. Napoles, meaning the completed affidavit, the more extended affidavit," de Lima told reporters.

De Lima has until Thursday to comply with the Senate directive but her office will likely ask for one more week to complete Napoles' testimony on the scam involving the misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and proceeds from the operation of the Malampaya natural gas plant.

She said the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are working overtime to gather "sheer volume of information and data" from Napoles, who is currently recuperating at the Ospital ng Makati after a pre-cancerous tumor was removed from her uterus.

Pressed by reporters if the names floated by the unsigned affidavit will only sow confusion, de Lima maintained her advocacy of "extreme care."

"Mahirap magsabi ng walang dahilan, kaya I’m advocating for extreme care, kasi 'pag ganyan labas ng labas ng wala pang kwento at hindi pa talaga nagsasalita publicly si Mrs. Napoles. Kaya sa communication ko sa Senate Blue Ribbon, I will still express my view na kung ako ang susundin ay hintayin ang resulta ng vetting (before releasing the list)," she said.

Main whistleblower Benhur Luy and his lawyer Raji Mendoza declined to validate Napoles' list at this point.

"We cannot confirm whether both lists have the same content. We were never shown the JLN (Janet Lim-Napoles) list," Mendoza said in a text message, adding they can neither vouch for the integrity of the data held by a newspaper which published the names of lawmakers allegedly linked by Luy to the controversy.

Among those implicated by Napoles in that unsigned document are former and incumbent senators namely: Aquilino Pimentel III, Robert Barbers (deceased), Loren Legarda, Vicente Sotto III, Gregorio Honasan, Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., Francis Escudero, Manuel Villar and Alan Peter Cayetano.

The list also includes past and present members of the House of Representatives, officials of government agencies and several agents who worked for Napoles such as socialite Ruby Tuason, who recently got immunity from cases by the Office of the Ombudsman, and actor Mat Ranillo.

Nearly everyone in the list, except for those who chose to be silent like Sotto and Honasan, is denying any involvement with Napoles or any of her fake non-government organizations (NGOs) that benefited from PDAF.

They also feared that the list would be used to launch misinformation and propaganda aimed at muddling the issue and staining a person's reputation. (Sunnex)

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