Senators cry foul over new list

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

MANILA -- Senators cried foul as they claimed that unseen hands are now actively manipulating the whole scenario in time for the 2016 elections.

Senator Francis Escudero said details contained in digital files and documents of whistleblower Benhur Luy on lawmakers' alleged misuse of billions of pesos in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) clearly debunked the so-called Janet Lim-Napoles list, which release he said was meant to deceive the public and muddle the real issue.

"The unsigned affidavit of Janet Lim-Napoles which she herself peddles to unsuspecting parties is highly suspect. Obviously, her list is designed to delay, mess up and subvert authorities in pinning down the real culprit of this PDAF shenanigan," Escudero said.

Rehabilitation czar and former Senator Panfilo Lacson was given a copy of the list allegedly prepared by Napoles, which he turned over to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Tuesday.

In the alleged Napoles list, Escudero and other incumbent and former senators have been identified to have dealt with the pork barrel scam queen, but did not offer any evidence to tie them to Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) diversion scheme.

"It detailed how much the commission from a project will be, who will receive such cuts and how much, where the delivery took place, but not once was I ever mentioned except for that attached page merely listing my name and that of the others. There were no notations or whatsoever," Escudero said.

He further said that he has never dealt with Napoles or any of her bogus non-government organizations.

Based on Luy's records culled from the digital files he kept detailing transactions entered into by Napoles spanning 10 years beginning in 2002.

"All the PDAF whistleblowers, including Luy never tagged me among the PDAF scam participants, not even the Commission on Audit report on PDAF allocation and utilization mentioned me as among those who plundered it," Escudero said.

"I have never allocated public funds using the PDAF or budgetary incentives to any fictitious NGOs created by Janet Napoles or anyone to steal people’s money," he added.

The senator challenged Napoles to release her signed affidavit and speak under oath to once and for all settle the issue.

"Why is Napoles riding on the credibility of people like Secretary Ping Lacson and other parties to mouth what she wants the public to believe? Why can she not stand on her statements and face those she accuses squarely in proper forum?" Escudero said.

The senator has asked the Senate to summon Napoles and appear before the Blue Ribbon Committee, along with Lacson and whistleblower Sandra Cam, who also claims to be in possession of the alleged Napoles list.

Senator Cynthia Villar defended her husband, former senator Manuel Villar who was surprised on the alleged list of Napoles naming him as one of the lawmakers who was in connivance with Napoles.

Villar said that her husband never had any transaction with Napoles in the past nor had they transacted with Napoles' bogus NGOs.

She described the move as a political persecution masquerading as a search for truth.

"It is reminiscent of what we experienced during the 2010 presidential elections. My husband, Manny Villar, and I endured malicious allegations that up to now remain unproven. It pains me to see that some quarters resort to dirty tactics to pursue political ends," Villar said.

Meanwhile, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said someone is behind the move to manufacture and distribute the fake list of Luy to besmirch the reputation of lawmakers like her.

According to reports, Luy and his lawyer Raji Mendoza reportedly disclaimed any connection with the so-called Luy list of pork scam crooks, published earlier Wednesday by a broadsheet.

"On this basis, then the fake Luy list must have been manufactured and distributed by a criminal syndicate, which has successfully led the broadsheet on a wild goose chase," Santiago said.

Senator Loren Legarda, for her part, denied her alleged involvement with Napoles and her fake NGOs.

Legarda said it is part of a smear campaign as she threatened to file criminal charges to those who are dragging her name in the pork scam scandal.

"I categorically deny any alleged involvement with Ms. Janet Napoles. I do not know her and have never dealt with her personally or otherwise. I have never endorsed any NGO to benefit from my PDAF. Any statement to the contrary that may be in her supposed affidavit is a perjured lie and is actionable criminally against her and all those involved in this political smear campaign," Legarda said.

It was reported that at least 25 past and present senators are in the digital files of whistleblower Luy detailing transactions to Napoles.

Based on reports, the 15 incumbent senators who had transactions with Napoles include Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Vicente Sotto III, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Gringo Honasan, Loren Legarda, Aquilino Pimentel III, Manuel Lapid, Cynthia Villar, JV Ejercito, Franklin Drilon, Ralph Recto and Alan Peter Cayetano.

Also in the records were the names of former Senators Edgardo Angara, Manuel Villar, Tessie Oreta, Nene Pimentel, Rodolfo Biazon, Robert Jaworski, Robert Barbers, Loi Estrada, Ramon Magsaysay and Ramon Revilla Sr. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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