Senators in 'pork' scam call Napoles a liar

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

MANILA -- "Is the Napoles list or Napolist another scam of alleged pork mastermind Janet Lim Napoles?"

This was the question raised after senators implicated in the widely publicized “Napolist” or “Napoles list” cried foul and called Napoles a "blatant liar."

Senator Cynthia Villar strongly denied Tuesday any involvement in the pork barrel scam, saying she had no personal or official dealings with Napoles.

Villar said Napoles is really lying when she claimed her husband, former senator Manuel Villar, accepted a contribution from the businesswoman.

"Sabi nila political contribution. Hindi kailanman tumanggap ng anumang political contribution ang aking asawa sa hindi niya kakilala at nakalista kung saan-saan at sino ang mga nagbigay ng kontribusyon sa mismong Comelec (Commission on Elections)," Villar said.

Villar, whose name also appeared in the list, said she cannot recall an instance that she engaged in Napoles' transactions in government.

“The documents released do not have evidence to support them. It’s unfair,” Villar said.

Villar said the same thing happened to Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, when his signature was allegedly forged in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) documents.

“How would you know that you are involved if the signature is forged? I don’t know how my name got included on the list. So I would like to think that they should release their list of names with supporting evidence,” Villar said.

“No Saro (special allotment release order), no budget, how did my name land on the list? When I was congresswoman I did not release any SARO,” she said.

Villar said her lawyers are considering the filing of a suit against those who publicized the list, including newspapers that printed it.

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano described Napoles "desperate" and whose motives are highly questionable.

According to Cayetano, Napoles is merely playing a game that will pull down those who are against her.

"Her game is to drag everyone's name into it and to make everyone guilty," Cayetano said.

"Ang gustong gawin ni Napoles maging acceptable and kanyang immunity by turning the tables. Gusto niya, lahat ng politiko masama kahit yung mga nag iimbestiga sa kanya. At gusto niya ang galit ng tao sa amin mapunta, para tanggapin ang kanyang immunity," he added.

Cayetano said the admission of guilt made by Napoles is a proof that she is really a dangerous person.

The affidavit of Napoles will be enough to convict her of plunder, he said.

Senator Jinggoy Estrada lamented that since Napoles is now dragging other names, some of the legislators mentioned in the list are singing another tune.

"They say Napoles is telling the truth when our names appear on the list. But when their names appear on the list, Napoles is tagged as a liar. So what is the real score," Estrada said.

Estrada also cleared his mother, former senator Loi Ejercito Estrada, from the allegations.

"Walang alam si mommy ko talaga. I already asked her. She was surprised that she was included in the list," Estrada said

Estrada added: "Kasi ang mommy noong bagong senador, hindi niya alam ang mga pork barrel. Lahat ng mga humihingi ng tulong sa kanya, ang mga mayors na lumalapit sa office niya, iyon ang mga binibigyan niya. Hindi ko alam kung paanong may lumulusot."

He also denied any dealing with actor Matt Ranillo, saying there is no truth that Ranillo was used by Napoles as a conduit.

"I have never dealt with him," Estrada said.

Senator Loren Legarda, for her part, categorically denied receiving monetary or any form of illegal benefit from Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or its equivalent at any time.

"I categorically deny, in the strongest terms allegations that I had any dealing with Ms. Napoles or any of her group. I have judiciously allocated my PDAF to accredited government agencies and local government units as prescribed by law," Legarda said in a statement.

Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the affidavit of Napoles speaks for itself when she clarified that she had no dealings with him.

The senator said he did not know Napoles.

"I have not met Ms. Napoles, I had never had any dealings with her and I have never had anything to do with any of these schemes that have been spoken about," he said.

Meanwhile, Senator Bam Aquino stressed that the full force of the law should be imposed upon those who benefited from the scam.

“The government should not spare anyone in this investigation. If they do, it will send a wrong signal to the public that anyone can pocket billions and get away with it easily,” he said.

Aquino also said that Napoles should face the Senate after she recovers from vaginal bleeding and divulge to the public the truth.

“This way, we will let the truth prevail and punish those involved in the scam,” he added.

The 32-page affidavit of Napoles, which was recently submitted to the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, turned out to be longer than the “versions” yielded to the committee by rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, as Napoles identified 20 incumbent and former senators -- seven of them retired and one already passed away -- 100 congressmen and at least 50 agents.

Half of the current 24-man Senate have been implicated by Napoles and they included two of those at the forefront of the Senate investigation into the scam -- Cayetano and Senator Francis Escudero.

The two received “campaign funds only” from her, supposedly for election campaign in 2010, while former Senate President Villar Jr. was also mentioned to have received campaign donations but it was not specified as to what election year.

The 10 other incumbent senators are Juan Ponce Enrile, Estrada, Gregorio Honasan, Lito Lapid, Legarda, Marcos, Pimentel, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Vicente Sotto III and Villar.

The late senator Robert Barbers, along with former senators Rodolfo Biazon, Loi Estrada, Robert Jaworski, Ramon Magsaysay Jr., Tessie Aquino-Oreta and Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. were also mentioned in Napoles' affidavit.

Some members of the House of Representatives not only engaged in the misuse of their PDAF allocation but also acted as “agents” from time to time and those prominent names supposedly include Clavel Martinez, Maite Defensor and Margie Tahon, as well as now Energy Regulatory Commission Chairperson (ERC) Zenaida Ducut.

Ducut supposedly acted as agent of Lapid and representatives Eduardo Veloso, Marc Douglas Cagas, Arnulfo Fuentebella, Florencio Miraflores, Manuel Ortega, Victor Ortega, Prospero Pichay and Abdullah Dimaporo.

Napoles emphasized that she’s not the most guilty or the alleged mastermind of the PDAF and Malampaya fund scams.

The businesswoman claimed that she was not capable and “does not have the ‘skill’ to run such a complicated scheme given my humble beginning.”

“I am only an ordinary private businesswoman. I neither have the power nor the authority to order the DBM to release documents as well as command the implementing agencies to choose any foundation or NGO. Neither can I direct nor control any legislator to give me his or her PDAF and disburse it as I please. I also did not conceptualize the formation of NGOs as well as their functions. I am not and was never an elected official nor an accountable government officer or employee,” Napoles said.

As to her decision to come out in the open and execute the said affidavits, Napoles claimed that she was prompted by not only threats to her life from unknown sources but also enlightened by her so-called spiritual advisor Archbishop Socrates Villegas D.D. and other priests.

“By telling the truth, which the people have been clamoring and I have been wanting to do for a long time, I intend to help my country and work towards minimizing, if not totally eradicating corruption so as not to put to waste these revelations,” Napoles said.

“Before undergoing surgery, God answered my prayer by giving me the chance to talk to the Honorable Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima and this bolstered my belief that indeed ‘telling the truth’ will me free. Thus I am executing this affidavit,” she added. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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