MIRIAM HITS 'PSYWAR' OF HER POL FOES, LACSON, ENRILE

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago claimed on Thursday that her political foes are on a "psywar" to distract public attention away from the prosecution of those implicated in the pork barrel scam. Santiago alleged this as she expressed doubts on the claim of rehabilitation chief Panfilo Lacson that the family of Janet Lim Napoles revealed to him the other officials allegedly involved in the pork barrel scam. The feisty senator said Lacson may be a part of a "vast, costly, and sinister disinformation operation" that seeks to discredit the Aquino administration and to compel the Office of the Ombudsman to grant the motions for reconsideration of the three senators already indicted. "The principals in this massive psywar operation are: Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile; his former chief of staff Gigi Reyes; and Enrile's ally and attack dog Panfilo Lacson," Santiago said in a speech during the commencement exercises at the Lyceum University-Laguna. Santiago questioned the intent and credibility of Lacson, whom she said has a "very shadowy background." "Why would Lacson come forward with a spurious document, one month after he claims that it was handed to him?" Santiago said, adding that the former senator's claims were "so full of holes." READ MORE...

ALSO: Who’s afraid of Gigi Reyes?

It looks like prosecution is turning into persecution as the Palace struggles to prop a blatantly weak case against the targeted opposition senators in the pork barrel scam telenovela. Noynoy has been banking on the scripted melodrama to salvage what could pass up as an accomplishment in his last two years of his lackluster administration.
The Ombudsman, which processes mainly graft charges against government officials, is in the forefront of the supposed anti-graft campaign but has turned into a Palace arm to suppress the ability of the accused to defend themselves. Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, one of the three senators the Ombudsman has charged with plunder before the Sandiganbayan, complained that the graft busting agency denied a request for the sworn statements of former Technology Resource Center director general Dennis Cunanan and former Palace social secretary Ruby Tuason. The denial could be a signal that the pressure from the Palace is being stepped up regarding the prosecution of the three targets at all cost. The grapevine says that the Palace is intent on putting the three senators, the other two being Senators Juan Ponce-Enrile and Ramon Revilla Jr., behind bars before Noynoy delivers his fifth State of the Nation Address (Sona). The Ombudsman and the other prosecution agencies are likely doing their best to restrict access to vital information that would aid the defense of the three senators while beefing up their gallery of witnesses. It also seems that the return of former Enrile chief of staff Gigi Reyes after staying overseas for eight months may not have been purely voluntary as claimed, since upon disembarking from the airplane that brought her home, some reports stated that government agents were already with her, presumably accompanying her in the flight.READ MORE...


ALSO:
Napoles shouldn’t be allowed to get away scot-free –senators

The government should not allow suspected pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles to get away scot-free from her alleged crimes even after she spills the beans on the supposed anomaly, two senators said Thursday. At a press briefing, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano said it will be "ridiculous" to let Napoles off the hook after she signified her intention to come clean on the alleged pork barrel scam. "Hindi naman pwedeng public policy na umamin ka lang, get out of jail ka na... Parang kung willing ka magsauli ng konti, willing ka mag-tell all, abswelto ka na, kahit na 'yung ebidensya mo, andiyan na lahat," Cayetano said. He added that making Napoles a state witness and granting her immunity will "cheapen" the existing processes against corruption. Cayetano further said that Napoles should still face jail time, and should return the money she supposedly stole from the government. "Kung 'yung information naman talaga ay vital, pakita mo talaga na sorry ka. Pakulong ka pa rin at magsauli ng pera. Siguro ang puwede pag-usapan, under the parameters of the law, kung gaano ka katagal makukulong," Cayetano said. On Tuesday, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima announced that Napoles offered herself as a state witness and vowed to "come clean" about the alleged anomaly. She, however, said that she did not give any commitment to Napoles about being a state witness. READ MORE...

ALSO: Brains of pork scam-‘They were my mentors’- Napoles

Napoles: Senator, former DAR chief, ex-DA Usec taught me the ropes. In yesterday’s papers, Janet Lim-Napoles, primary suspect in the P10-billion PDAF scam, insisted that she was not the brains behind it and pointed instead to another. Her lawyer, Bruce Rivera, said “she is not the most guilty.” That being the case, she can qualify as a state witness, Rivera added.
Whether she is “not the most guilty” and, therefore, qualified to be a state witness, is for the Sandiganbayan to decide. The Sandiganbyan picks from a list of possible state witnesses given by the Ombudsman. Ironically, there may be some truth to Napoles’ statement that she was not the mastermind of the massive theft of the P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). The “brains” are three highly prominent government officials who had advised Napoles on the intricacies of fund releases, according to a highly reliable source who requested anonymity.
In her signed affidavit, Napoles narrated the roles the “brains” had played in the PDAF scam, the source told The Manila Times on Thursday.READ MORE...

(ALSO) Miriam: Enrile out to taint Palace allies

SENATOR Miriam Defensor Santiago on Friday tagged Senator Juan Ponce Enrile as the “brain and financier” of a plot to tag presidential allies such as Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senator Francis Escudero as the most guilty in the P10 billion pork barrel scam. Santiago said the operation started with Friday’s publication in a local daily (not the Manila Standard) of an article which quoted unnamed sources as saying Abad was the tutor of the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles. Santiago branded the story as a “mere concoction of the fevered brain of the 90-year-old Enrile.”She said part of Enrile’s diversionary tactics were statements from his allies Napoles and former senator and now rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson, whom she described as an “attack dog.” Napoles, who had denied her role in the scam before a Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing earlier, was no longer a credible witness, Santiago said. Both Napoles and Lacson have a list of implicated persons that include the names of enemies of Enrile, such as Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano and his sister, Senator Pia Cayetano. Santiago said her own name might also be on the list. She said the best way to deal with the story was to laugh at it. READ MORE...

(ALSO) De Lima: I won’t show list ‘It will sow confusion; there are several now’

There would be havoc and disorder. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she wanted to avoid this as she refused to give in to demands that she release the names of those, including lawmakers, said to have been tagged by alleged mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles as being involved in the P10-billion pork barrel scam. “It would not be prudent on our part, [it would be] reckless, irresponsible if I’ll bow down to pressure from anyone or any group demanding that I disclose the list at this point. No, I will not do that,” De Lima told reporters on Friday.
There could be “mayhem” if she were to disclose the names on the list without first verifying them, De Lima said.
“I want to be very careful. Mayhem will ensue when the list will come out and [those named] will turn out to be not involved,” she said. De Lima also called into question the claims made by others that they also have their own list of people involved in the large-scale theft of funds from the congressional pork barrel, the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). “I think these [other lists] are only causing confusion. If every Tom, Dick and Harry now will have their own list, what will happen?” she said. De Lima said she was not aware if Napoles or her camp had given such lists to other people and that she would ask her about it later. She said the claims made about the existence of other lists could also be used by other parties to pressure her to prematurely disclose the list provided by Napoles.


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Miriam hits 'psywar' of Lacson, Enrile, Gigi


File photo of former Senator Panfilo Lacson and now Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile. Senate Photo/Joe Arazas

MANILA, APRIL 28, 2014 (PHILSTAR) Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago claimed on Thursday that her political foes are on a "psywar" to distract public attention away from the prosecution of those implicated in the pork barrel scam.

Santiago alleged this as she expressed doubts on the claim of rehabilitation chief Panfilo Lacson that the family of Janet Lim Napoles revealed to him the other officials allegedly involved in the pork barrel scam.

The feisty senator said Lacson may be a part of a "vast, costly, and sinister disinformation operation" that seeks to discredit the Aquino administration and to compel the Office of the Ombudsman to grant the motions for reconsideration of the three senators already indicted.

"The principals in this massive psywar operation are: Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile; his former chief of staff Gigi Reyes; and Enrile's ally and attack dog Panfilo Lacson," Santiago said in a speech during the commencement exercises at the Lyceum University-Laguna.

Santiago questioned the intent and credibility of Lacson, whom she said has a "very shadowy background."

"Why would Lacson come forward with a spurious document, one month after he claims that it was handed to him?" Santiago said, adding that the former senator's claims were "so full of holes."

She said it is "incredible" that Lacson was supposedly approached by Napoles' family, when they could have easily contacted other government officials close to President Aquino.

The senator warned the public to "keep your composure and remain level-headed" on what could be a "massive psywar disinformation campaign using pork barrel kickbacks."

"For the respondents, this is a desperate make-or-break situation," Santiago said.

Both Lacson and Enrile are known political opponents of Santiago.

Earlier this month, the Ombudsman indicted Enrile, Napoles and Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. for graft and plunder charges for allegedly amassing kickbacks from the misuse of pork barrel funds.

FROM THE DAILY TRIBUNE

Who’s afraid of Gigi Reyes? Written by Tribune Editorial Tuesday, 22 April 2014 00:00

It looks like prosecution is turning into persecution as the Palace struggles to prop a blatantly weak case against the targeted opposition senators in the pork barrel scam telenovela.

Noynoy has been banking on the scripted melodrama to salvage what could pass up as an accomplishment in his last two years of his lackluster administration.

The Ombudsman, which processes mainly graft charges against government officials, is in the forefront of the supposed anti-graft campaign but has turned into a Palace arm to suppress the ability of the accused to defend themselves.

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, one of the three senators the Ombudsman has charged with plunder before the Sandiganbayan, complained that the graft busting agency denied a request for the sworn statements of former Technology Resource Center director general Dennis Cunanan and former Palace social secretary Ruby Tuason.

The denial could be a signal that the pressure from the Palace is being stepped up regarding the prosecution of the three targets at all cost.

The grapevine says that the Palace is intent on putting the three senators, the other two being Senators Juan Ponce-Enrile and Ramon Revilla Jr., behind bars before Noynoy delivers his fifth State of the Nation Address (Sona).

The Ombudsman and the other prosecution agencies are likely doing their best to restrict access to vital information that would aid the defense of the three senators while beefing up their gallery of witnesses.

It also seems that the return of former Enrile chief of staff Gigi Reyes after staying overseas for eight months may not have been purely voluntary as claimed, since upon disembarking from the airplane that brought her home, some reports stated that government agents were already with her, presumably accompanying her in the flight.

Likewise, despite the feigned surprise of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents were waiting for Reyes’ arrival before dawn last Black Saturday.

Only, something occurred in the process of convincing Reyes to pin down mainly Enrile, that has resulted in De Lima saying she doubts that the former aide of Enrile would be accepted as a provisional state witness, the way that the status was immediately given to Cunanan and Tuason.

Cunanan was meant to provide the testimony material to the conviction of Revilla, Tuason on Estrada while Reyes is being lured to implicate Enrile to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scandal.

Reyes said that she would tell all she knows regarding the pork barrel syndicate ran by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.

The reluctance now of De Lima and the apparent diffidence of the Palace on the sudden surfacing of Reyes may point to the fact that a script being fed to entice her into becoming a provisional witness may have been turned down.

Even if Reyes said she will spill all the beans, the Palace and its cohorts now are filled with uncertainty.

Certainly it would not be the truth that the Palace wants Reyes to reveal but rather the script that has been followed since Day 1 of the pork barrel telenovela.

Cunanan and Tuason were both proven to be weak state witnesses as even senators who are not all lawyers easily punched through their testimonies and found them to be hiding a lot of things and merely sticking to the fed government script of pinning down the three target senators.

Both, along with all the other so-called whistleblowers, evidently had the primordial motivation of saving their hides in seeking to become state witnesses.

There is perceptible doubt in both the Palace and De Lima that Reyes will be as easy to sway as the two earlier state witnesses and the whistle-blowers led by Benhur Luy, who are all under the Department of Justice’s full control.

Reyes revealing the unalloyed truth may just be what the Palace is seeking to avoid.

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Napoles shouldn’t be allowed to get away scot-free –senators
By ANDREO CALONZO, GMA NewsApril 24, 2014 2:41pm


NAPOLES

The government should not allow suspected pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles to get away scot-free from her alleged crimes even after she spills the beans on the supposed anomaly, two senators said Thursday.

At a press briefing, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano said it will be "ridiculous" to let Napoles off the hook after she signified her intention to come clean on the alleged pork barrel scam.

"Hindi naman pwedeng public policy na umamin ka lang, get out of jail ka na... Parang kung willing ka magsauli ng konti, willing ka mag-tell all, abswelto ka na, kahit na 'yung ebidensya mo, andiyan na lahat," Cayetano said.

He added that making Napoles a state witness and granting her immunity will "cheapen" the existing processes against corruption.

Cayetano further said that Napoles should still face jail time, and should return the money she supposedly stole from the government.

"Kung 'yung information naman talaga ay vital, pakita mo talaga na sorry ka. Pakulong ka pa rin at magsauli ng pera. Siguro ang puwede pag-usapan, under the parameters of the law, kung gaano ka katagal makukulong," Cayetano said.

On Tuesday, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima announced that Napoles offered herself as a state witness and vowed to "come clean" about the alleged anomaly. She, however, said that she did not give any commitment to Napoles about being a state witness.

De Lima also said that Napoles corroborated the whistleblowers' testimonies on the alleged involvement of Senators Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile in the supposed anomaly.

Napoles and the three senators are currently facing plunder charges before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly pocketing public funds from the alleged pork barrel anomaly.

Return money

Senator Francis Escudero, meanwhile, agreed that Napoles should be forced to return to the government the pork barrel funds she allegedly pocketed.

"Ang sa akin nga, dapat may kapalit kung talagang sinsero at tunay at tapat ang kanyang alok. Dapat kasama sa usapan ang pagbabalik ng anumang ninakaw, nakulimbat o pinakinabangan. Kung ilang bilyon man yun, dapat ibalik sa kaban ng bayan," Escudero said in a phone interview.

He added that Napoles' tell-all should be taken with a grain of salt.

"Huwag tayong masyadong umoo agad dahil gaya nga ng sabi ko, minsan na niyang pinagsinungalingan ang Senado at sambayanan. Dapat siguro ay mabawi muna niya ang tiwalang yun bago tayo biglang mag-panic o maniwala agad sa bawat salitang sasabihin niya," Escudero said.

Last November, Napoles appeared before the Senate blue ribbon committee but clammed up by repeatedly invoking her right against self-incrimination.

During her Senate appearance, Napoles denied ordering Benhur Luy and other whistleblowers to form foundations to be used for the alleged anomaly. She also denied receiving kickbacks from the supposed scam. — KBK, GMA News

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

‘They were my mentors’ April 24, 2014 10:47 pm by Dr. Dante A. Ang, Chairman Emeritus, The Manila Times


Napoles

Napoles: Senator, former DAR chief, ex-DA Usec taught me the ropes

In yesterday’s papers, Janet Lim-Napoles, primary suspect in the P10-billion PDAF scam, insisted that she was not the brains behind it and pointed instead to another.

Her lawyer, Bruce Rivera, said “she is not the most guilty.” That being the case, she can qualify as a state witness, Rivera added.

Whether she is “not the most guilty” and, therefore, qualified to be a state witness, is for the Sandiganbayan to decide.

The Sandiganbyan picks from a list of possible state witnesses given by the Ombudsman.

Ironically, there may be some truth to Napoles’ statement that she was not the mastermind of the massive theft of the P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

The “brains” are three highly prominent government officials who had advised Napoles on the intricacies of fund releases, according to a highly reliable source who requested anonymity.

In her signed affidavit, Napoles narrated the roles the “brains” had played in the PDAF scam, the source told The Manila Times on Thursday.

The three (a leading senator and prominent member of the Liberal Party, an Agriculture undersecretary and an erstwhile secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform or DAR) “are my mentors. They instructed me about the procedures and taught me the process of how to undertake the PDAF cycle,” the source quoting Napoles said.

“The former DAR secretary and the current Agriculture undersecretary who is related to a senator were in constant communications with me,” Napoles added.

Some Malacañang officials were not spared either. A ranking official of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is alleged to have taught Napoles the ropes. “[Name of DBM official] was the one who taught me how to follow the procedures at the DBM in order to expedite the releases of the funds,” said the source quoting from the Napoles affidavit. Napoles added that she “followed up the releases” with another ranking DBM official.

Yet another Palace factotum was also mentioned in her affidavit. Wrote Napoles, “[Name of the Palace official] is one of my contacts in Malacañang and who was introduced to me by [name of a Public Relations practitioner]. We casually know each other.” She said she “talks” to the PR guy “for advice every now and then.”

Some 11 senators belonging to the administration and opposition were also implicated in the Napoles affidavit.

In that same affidavit, the jailed businesswoman recounted that she met one of the three senators indicted by the Ombudsman in a social function and that she followed up on the status of the documents with his Chief of Staff.

Napoles, according to the source, decided to come out in the open and name names when the people whom she considered friends abandoned her. She was blaming them for her having contracted urinary tract infection (UTI), “kasi marumi ang facilities [because the facilities in Santa Rosa are dirty],” he explained.

Napoles was being held at Fort Santo Domingo in Santa Rosa City, Laguna, until she underwent major surgery in a government hospital on Tuesday.

She had asked “them” for help in securing a hospital arrest for her and a transfer of venue. Both requests were denied by the courts. Napoles then decided to go public and talked to the government to reveal what she knows of the theft of the government funds, the source said.

On Thursday, former senator Panfilo ‘Ping” Lacson disclosed that in March this year, Jimmy Napoles, husband of Janet, gave him documents and a list of lawmakers who allegedly received kickbacks from ghost projects funded by PDAF.

Lacson said the number of senators included in the list could constitute a quorum. With the Senate having 24 members, at least 13 are needed to make a quorum.

But Senate President Franklin Drilon cautioned against using the Napoles list to attack the chamber.

“If the list is supported by credible documentary evidence, please go ahead. Pero kung listahan lang naman, siguro naman pag-ingatan naman natin ang institusyon ng Senado [But if it’s just a mere list, I believe we should preserve the Senate as an institution],” he said in a news briefing also on Thursday.

Drilon insisted that every testimony should be backed up by evidence and that the best evidence is the document itself.
The senator also expressed confidence that his name is not on the Napoles list because, according to him, not a single centavo of his PDAF went to any questionable non-government organization (NGO).

“I wish to say once more that insofar as I am concerned, my name is not and will never be [on ] any list because I have not assigned a single peso of my PDAF to any NGO of Mrs. Janet Napoles” he said.

FROM MANILA STANDARD

Miriam: Enrile out to taint Palace allies By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Apr. 26, 2014 at 12:01am


POLITICAL ENEMIES: ENRILE AND SANTIAGO

SENATOR Miriam Defensor Santiago on Friday tagged Senator Juan Ponce Enrile as the “brain and financier” of a plot to tag presidential allies such as Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senator Francis Escudero as the most guilty in the P10 billion pork barrel scam.

Santiago said the operation started with Friday’s publication in a local daily (not the Manila Standard) of an article which quoted unnamed sources as saying Abad was the tutor of the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.

Santiago branded the story as a “mere concoction of the fevered brain of the 90-year-old Enrile.”

She said part of Enrile’s diversionary tactics were statements from his allies Napoles and former senator and now rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson, whom she described as an “attack dog.”

Napoles, who had denied her role in the scam before a Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing earlier, was no longer a credible witness, Santiago said.

Both Napoles and Lacson have a list of implicated persons that include the names of enemies of Enrile, such as Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano and his sister, Senator Pia Cayetano.

Santiago said her own name might also be on the list.

She said the best way to deal with the story was to laugh at it.

“It’s amusing and it may even be creative, but it is a waste of time. To foil the conspirators, let us simply go back to the basic principle that if a crime has been committed, there must be a punishment. Those who are charged with plunder should undergo trial. If convicted, they should go to jail for 30 years. That is the law, and no fairy tale should serve to distract us from this basic point,” said Santiago, a bitter enemy of Enrile.

She also hit the use of unnamed sources and the lack of references to any official documents in the story, saying such a thing would not be allowed in court.

“Enrile is clutching at straws because if the Ombudsman denies his motion for reconsideration, then the Ombudsman will file the case with the Sandiganbayan [anti-graft] court,” said Santiago.

“Ultimately, if the case is filed, the Sandiganbayan will suspend Enrile from office and hold him in detention, because plunder is non-bailable,” she said.

In an interview after a speech before the Philippine Association of Pathologists at Sofitel Hotel, Santiago said the “tall tale spun by a small opposition newspaper” is the first in a scheduled barrage of stories against the Aquino administration.

She said the story intends to destabilize Metro Manila, and to divert national attention away from the plunder charges against Enrile and two other opposition senators, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr.

On Wednesday, Santaigo warned of a vast psywar operation carried out by what she called the “trinity of unholy conspirators” composed of Enrile, his former chief of staff Jessica “Gigi” Reyes and Lacson.

Abad, on the other hand, denied “tutoring” Napoles in designing he PDAF scam.

“These fresh allegations that I tutored Janet Lim Napoles in designing the PDAF scam are simply not true,” Abad said in a statement. “I’ve been called several names since I began serving in this administration, but ‘Pork King’is certainly the most ridiculous.

“It would in fact be funny if it weren’t such a blatant lie,” he added.

The report claimed Abad had a code name—“Straight”—because his kickbacks went directly to him and were deposited to a Singapore bank.

“These are all speculations at the moment, though, and until I receive a copy of Ms. Napoles’ affidavit, I cannot comment properly on the matter. Suffice it to say that I have never dealt with Janet Lim Napoles, much less acted as a mentor in executing her alleged schemes,” he said.

“Meanwhile, there’s a lot of work to be done. We in the Department of Budget and Management and the Aquino administration will continue to fight for a government free of corruption, even if our transparency and accountability reforms run counter to the interests of some,” Abad added.

Alcala also denied any involvement in the pork barrel scam and challenged his accusers to file charges.

“It is hard to be accused specially when you are not given the chance to explain your side,” Alcala said,

Alcala denied that he was summoned to Malacañang after De Lima announced that Napoles had given her a list of lawmakers and officials involved in the pork barrel scam.

“I was at Malacañang for a meeting on the arrival of President [Barack] Obama. There are agricultural concerns there, so I was there,’’ Alcala said in a television interview.

“The President and I did not talk about the Napoles testimony. I discussed with him the Department of Agriculture’s own preparations in terms of agenda topics for the upcoming visit of US President Barrack Obama,” Alcala said.

“We did not discuss [the pork barrel issue]. He did not even ask me about it,” he said.

Drilon, for his part, reiterated his earlier remark that he never allocated his PDAF to any bogus non-government organizations put up by Napoles.

When asked to comment on the report, Drilon’s media relations officer Jeeno Arellano said they will no longer issue a statement because the Senate president had already done so in a media briefing on Thursday.

“We came ahead over the black operations,” Arellano added.

In the media briefing, Drilon told Senate reporters he is confident his name is not in the Napoles list “because I have not assigned a single peso of my PDAF to any NGO of Mrs Janet Napoles.’

He noted that the only NGO that he has been working with for the past several years is the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce, which builds schools around the country at half the cost of government contractors.

“We have built over 1,600 classrooms. I can account for ever peso of my pork barrel. That is why I am very confident and strong in my statement that I am not in any list and I have not utilized my PDAF with NGOs which are charged to be fake. I can account for every single of the funds that were allocated to me,” assured Drilon.

According to Drilon, he opted to speak up on the possibility that he might be tagged in the Napoles pork barrel scam after receiving many text messages that he was among the 19 senators whom Napoles implicated in the pork barrel scam.

“Well, I guess they are at it again. These are the black propaganda operators who were doing the same thing last year. They have been tapped to muddle the issue by spreading lies and baseless accusations” he said.

“Having said that, I reiterate my previous statement that the process of ferreting out the truth and delivering justice should be blind of any political color. Those who have plundered the nation’s coffers should be put to jail and their political affiliation, their pedigree, should never be a consideration,” he added.

For his part, Escudero said he can prove he had never allocated his PDAF to any Napoles NGO although he was alarmed that Napoles may lie and include his name because he had repeatedly said that Napoles should be transferred to a regular jail.

He expressed reservations on the credibility of Napoles, saying her testimonies might contradict the earlier statements exposed by the whistle blowers.

“Should we believe all the statements of Napoles? What if her testimony won’t match with the whistleblowers?” he asked.

He admitted being wary in Napoles’ change of heart, as she vowed to tell-all against those involved in the scam.

He warned the DOJ on accepting Napoles’ claim at face value and reminded them to review her testimony before making any recommendation to take her as state witness. With Joyce Pañares, Jennifer Ambanta and Anna Leah Estrada

FROM THE INQUIRER

De Lima: I won’t show list ‘It will sow confusion; there are several now’ By Jerome Aning, Norman Bordadora Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:35 am | Saturday, April 26th, 2014


Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Janet Lim-Napoles (inset). INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

There would be havoc and disorder.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she wanted to avoid this as she refused to give in to demands that she release the names of those, including lawmakers, said to have been tagged by alleged mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles as being involved in the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

“It would not be prudent on our part, [it would be] reckless, irresponsible if I’ll bow down to pressure from anyone or any group demanding that I disclose the list at this point. No, I will not do that,” De Lima told reporters on Friday. There could be “mayhem” if she were to disclose the names on the list without first verifying them, De Lima said.

“I want to be very careful. Mayhem will ensue when the list will come out and [those named] will turn out to be not involved,” she said.

De Lima also called into question the claims made by others that they also have their own list of people involved in the large-scale theft of funds from the congressional pork barrel, the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

“I think these [other lists] are only causing confusion. If every Tom, Dick and Harry now will have their own list, what will happen?” she said.

De Lima said she was not aware if Napoles or her camp had given such lists to other people and that she would ask her about it later.

She said the claims made about the existence of other lists could also be used by other parties to pressure her to prematurely disclose the list provided by Napoles.

De Lima referred only to a supposed list in the possession of Sandra Cam, president of a whistle-blowers’ association.

“I’m surprised with those reports [about Cam]. What is her personality in having something like that (list)? Is she an investigator? She’s not a whistle-blower in the PDAF scam,” she said.

Lacson list

Though De Lima did not mention him, presidential assistant for rehabilitation Panfilo Lacson earlier this week disclosed that he also had a Napoles list.

The former senator said Napoles, through her husband Jimmy, had given him a copy of an unsigned affidavit detailing how she ran the scam and a list of senators and House members who channeled billions of pesos worth of PDAF allocations to Napoles’ fake nongovernment organizations.

Lacson said there were other senators on the list aside from those already charged—Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. He hinted that there were enough senators on the list to constitute a quorum, meaning there were at least 13, the number needed to conduct business in the Senate plenary.

Stop meddling, please

Asked what would happen if the names on the list given to her by Napoles were to differ with the other lists, De Lima said: “That is why I want to ask: These lists, did they come from Mrs. Napoles? What is the purpose of other camps coming out with other lists? I’m sure mine came from Mrs. Napoles.”

To those claiming to have their own list, she said, “Please, can you not meddle for a while? Many people are again meddling,” she said.

Former Senate colleagues of Lacson meanwhile are getting nowhere in their attempt to get him to disclose the names on his list.

Ask Napoles, or yourselves, Lacson suggested.

“The best person to name names is the one who prepared that list. Mrs. Napoles is available and accessible. She is also in the best position to substantiate with evidence the involvement of those on the list,” Lacson said in a text message.

“All those who wonder if they were guilty of abusing their pork barrel funds must only ask themselves to get the most accurate answer to their question,” said Lacson, who voluntarily gave up his PDAF allocations during the 12 years that he was senator.

He said he agreed with Senate President Franklin Drilon’s opinion that Lacson should only disclose the contents of his list if it is backed by other documentary evidence.

“That was exactly the reason why I kept the information shared with me by Napoles last month. I was waiting for her to turn over the pertinent documents that would support her draft affidavit,” Lacson said.

“The corroborating documents would be the better evidence than Mrs. Napoles’ affidavit,” he added.

As for Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s allegation that Lacson’s claiming he had a list was a ploy in a media campaign to force the Ombudsman to grant the motion for reconsideration of Enrile, Estrada and Revilla, Lacson said: “It is not sane to think that I will protect and cover up for Senator Enrile. I have consistently advocated to abolish the pork barrel system as I believe it is the most hypocritical source of corruption among legislators.”

The Ombudsman has already found probable cause to charge Enrile, Estrada and Revilla with plunder in the Sandiganbayan antigraft court.

Santiago and Lacson have been at odds after Lacson took Enrile’s side in the big squabble in 2012 over then Senate President Enrile’s allegedly unfair distribution of cash gifts and discretionary funds in the chamber.

Alcala denial
Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala has denied any involvement in the pork barrel scam.

In a statement issued in response to a newspaper report, Alcala expressed “surprise” at being tagged along with 11 other Cabinet secretaries and senators as being on the Napoles list.

Alcala said allegations linking him to the scam were “baseless.”

He denied having known or met Napoles personally. He said he hoped his clarification would put an end to speculation triggered by the news report.

“It’s awful to be accused [of wrongdoing] when you’re innocent, more so when you’re not given a chance to explain,” Alcala said in Filipino.

Asked to comment on reports that President Aquino has discussed the allegations with him, along with De Lima and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Alcala said no such meeting took place on the date alleged.

“The President and I did not talk about the Napoles testimony. I discussed with him the Department of Agriculture’s own preparations in terms of agenda topics for the upcoming visit of US President Barack Obama,” Alcala said.

He said he did not believe that Malacañang was attempting to sanitize or manipulate the contents of Napoles’ testimony, contrary to claims that the Palace was engaged in protecting the President’s allies. With a report from Riza T. Olchondra


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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