AQUINO: WRONG TO INSTANTLY FIRE CABINET EXECS ON 'PORK' LIST

President Benigno Aquino III will not yet dismiss members of his Cabinet who were named on Janet Lim-Napoles' supposed lists of officials involved in the pork barrel scam. In an interview with media, Aquino said it is not right to fire officials who are merely accused of wrongdoing but have not yet been proven guilty. "Mali siguro na may nag-criticize, 'di ba, dapat tanggalin na kaagad. Siguro ang importante: May ebidensya nga ba?," Aquino said. Aquino made this statement after Budget Sec. Florencio Abad, Agriculture Sec. Proceso Alcala and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) director Joel Villanueva were included in the different Napoles' lists that had surfaced. He said firing alleged erring officials without any sufficient proof is not how the law works. "Dito sa bansa natin karapatan ng bawat isa ang pinangangalagaan at isa sa mga tenets ng ating batas 'innocent until proven guilty'. Hindi 'guilty until you prove yourself innocent'," the President said. Abad, a former Batanes congressman, has repeatedly denied that he had transactions with Napoles, the suspected pork barrel scam mastermind. He has also dismissed claims that he taught the businesswoman how to set up foundations. Alcala has also denied the allegations against him. READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘Pork’ scam gets closer to Palace (Lacson's List)

Lacson’s Napoles list links 2 Cabinet men, 11 senators, 69 congressmen, 18 others. Malacañang yesterday renewed its pledge that it would not spare any of its allies associated with the alleged misuse of multibillion-peso funds after presidential rehabilitation czar Panfilo M. Lacson implicated Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad and another Cabinet official to the fund irregularity. The guiding principle set by President Aquino is clear from the very start: Let the evidence point the direction of the investigation, Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said. No one will be spared or coddled provided there is concrete evidence, he added. Malacañang is not inclined to ask Abad to go on leave despite his alleged links to the fund irregularity allegedly masterminded by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles. Abad, a Liberal Party stalwart like Aquino, continues to enjoy the President’s trust and confidence, Coloma said. “A mere allegation concerning actions taken in a previous position does not affect the presumption of regularity in connection with the performance of current duties,” Coloma said. Abad, , a three-term representative of lone district of Batanes from 1995 to 2004, denied having any dealings with Napoles or any of her fake non-government organizations (NGOs), describing the accusation as purely speculation and fabrication. Abad believes that the string of negative accusations against him is all politically motivated. “Habang lumalapit ang 2016, tiyak na marami pang lalabas na absurdong alegasyon. Tiwala akong masasala ng publiko ang mga kuwentong imbento lang, at maninindigan sila para sa katotohanan,” Abad said in a statement. “I find it amusing, if not outright revolting, that I am once again in the crosshairs of those who want the Aquino Administration to fall,” Abad added. VIEW NAPOLES LIST...

ALSO: ‘NAPOLIST’ MERE SCRAP OF PAPER –PALACE

MALACAñANG on Wednesday joined lawmakers in belittling the list given by Janet Napoles to former senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, saying the unsigned affidavit was just a “mere scrap of paper.” “The list . . . what does it prove? And given the affidavit, which is unsigned, how do we proceed with that?” its spokesman Edwin Lacierda said during a news briefing.
He noted that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has in her possession an affidavit signed by Napoles that named three senators and five congressmen who allegedly received kickbacks from their priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel disbursements. Quoting de Lima, Lacierda said the affidavit is a “work in progress.” He added that more names will be added to the “signed” list as investigation progresses.
“It’s really a work in progress. Yes, there’s already an initial affidavit, signed and notarized by Ms. Napoles, submitted to [de Lima] yesterday [Tuesday]. But the same covers only the lawmakers in the first batch of PDAF cases already filed, and the Malampaya fund [scam],” the Palace official said. He noted that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is waiting for the “completion of the more extended affidavit which expectedly covers the entire list.”READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace claims at a loss; Can’t explain why only 3 senators out of 25 in Luy’s list indicted

MALACAÑANG was at a loss Wednesday on how to explain why other senators who were included in the list of whistleblower Benhur Luy were not included in the first batch of cases filed against those who benefitted from the P10 billion pork barrel scam. “I cannot answer that,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said when asked why only opposition Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. were charged, when Luy’s list included 25 incumbent and former senators. Lacierda added, however, that the Justice Department is now investigating the other lawmakers on Luy’s list. “I think they are in the process of doing that,” Lacierda said. Lacierda insisted that the administration was not singling out the opposition or coddling its allies who are involved in the scam. “Let me emphasize that we were not hasty in filing cases against what media would perceive as opposition,” he said. “In the same manner that we have seen the resolve of the Department of Justice to file cases against its own allies. So any allegation that we are coddling or favoring our own allies is unfair,” Lacierda said. Reports showed that there are 15 incumbent senators in the Luy list: Enrile, Revilla, Estrada, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Vicente Sotto III, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Gregorio Honasan, Loren Legarda, Aquilino Pimentel III, Lito Lapid, Cynthia Villar, JV Ejercito, Franklin Drilon, Ralph Recto and Alan Peter Cayetano. Also in the Luy list were former senators Edgardo Angara, Manny Villar, Tessie Oreta, Aquilino Pimentel, Rodolfo Biazon, Robert Jaworski, Robert Barbers, Loi Estrada, Ramon Magsaysay and Ramon Revilla Sr. Lacierda said the other unsigned affidavit of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles is just a “scrap of paper,” echoing Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s assessment of the list given by the Napoles family to rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson. READ MORE...


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Aquino: Wrong to instantly fire Cabinet execs on 'pork' list


President Aquino and his Cabinent during a meeting in February. Ryan Lim/Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, MAY 19, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Louis Bacani — President Benigno Aquino III will not yet dismiss members of his Cabinet who were named on Janet Lim-Napoles' supposed lists of officials involved in the pork barrel scam.

In an interview with media, Aquino said it is not right to fire officials who are merely accused of wrongdoing but have not yet been proven guilty.

"Mali siguro na may nag-criticize, 'di ba, dapat tanggalin na kaagad. Siguro ang importante: May ebidensya nga ba?," Aquino said.

Aquino made this statement after Budget Sec. Florencio Abad, Agriculture Sec. Proceso Alcala and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) director Joel Villanueva were included in the different Napoles' lists that had surfaced.

He said firing alleged erring officials without any sufficient proof is not how the law works.

"Dito sa bansa natin karapatan ng bawat isa ang pinangangalagaan at isa sa mga tenets ng ating batas 'innocent until proven guilty'. Hindi 'guilty until you prove yourself innocent'," the President said.

Abad, a former Batanes congressman, has repeatedly denied that he had transactions with Napoles, the suspected pork barrel scam mastermind. He has also dismissed claims that he taught the businesswoman how to set up foundations.

Alcala has also denied the allegations against him.

As for Villanueva, a former party-list representative, the President said the official has already shown him the alleged document implicating him in the pork barrel scam.

"'Yung partylist na nakalagay doon sa letterhead, doon sa alleged document from him, ay ibang partylist," Aquino said.

The President admitted earlier this week that he has seen two Napoles' lists, but their contents do not match.

He revealed on Thursday that one of the list included 14 senators while the other — supposedly from Napoles herself — implicated 11.

Aquino also mentioned the other list obtained by rehab czar Panfilo Lacson and another one reported by a broadsheet based on the digital records of whistle-blower Benhur Luy.

The President said the government cannot just file cases against the accused officials without any strong evidence.

"So palagay ko obligasyon ko sa sambayanan manigurado (na) 'pag naghain tayo ng kaso matibay ang ebidensya para talagang maparusahan 'yung nagkasala," he said.

"Ngayon, ang kabaligtaran naman 'non, kung maghain ka lang ng haka-haka... parang walang basehan na akusasyon... madi-dismiss 'yung kaso," he added.

Aquino and Malacañang have repeatedly said that the investigation and prosecution of those allegedly involved in the scam will not spare allies.

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

‘Pork’ scam gets closer to Palace by Genalyn Kabiling and Hannah Torregoza
May 14, 2014 (updated) Share this:

Lacson’s Napoles list links 2 Cabinet men, 11 senators, 69 congressmen, 18 others


Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad
AQUINO KEEPS ABAD

Manila, Philippines — Malacañang yesterday renewed its pledge that it would not spare any of its allies associated with the alleged misuse of multibillion-peso funds after presidential rehabilitation czar Panfilo M. Lacson implicated Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad and another Cabinet official to the fund irregularity.

The guiding principle set by President Aquino is clear from the very start: Let the evidence point the direction of the investigation, Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

No one will be spared or coddled provided there is concrete evidence, he added.

Malacañang is not inclined to ask Abad to go on leave despite his alleged links to the fund irregularity allegedly masterminded by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles. Abad, a Liberal Party stalwart like Aquino, continues to enjoy the President’s trust and confidence, Coloma said.

“A mere allegation concerning actions taken in a previous position does not affect the presumption of regularity in connection with the performance of current duties,” Coloma said.

Abad, , a three-term representative of lone district of Batanes from 1995 to 2004, denied having any dealings with Napoles or any of her fake non-government organizations (NGOs), describing the accusation as purely speculation and fabrication.

Abad believes that the string of negative accusations against him is all politically motivated.

“Habang lumalapit ang 2016, tiyak na marami pang lalabas na absurdong alegasyon. Tiwala akong masasala ng publiko ang mga kuwentong imbento lang, at maninindigan sila para sa katotohanan,” Abad said in a statement.

“I find it amusing, if not outright revolting, that I am once again in the crosshairs of those who want the Aquino Administration to fall,” Abad added.

He urged the Department of Justice and the Ombudsman to continue their investigation and follow the evidence wherever it may lead them.

PING’S NAPOLES LIST

Aside from Abad, also implicated in the list transmitted yesterday by Lacson to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee was Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, 11 incumbent and former senators, 69 incumbent and former congressmen, two officials each from the Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform, Technology Resource Center (TRC), National Agri-Business Corporation (Nabcor); and one from National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC).

SENATORS

In Lacson’s Napoles list are: incumbent and former senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile, Vicente Sotto III, Loren Legarda, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, III, Manuel Villar Jr., Alan Peter Cayetano, Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II, Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito (then San Juan Representative), and the late Robert Barbers.

Incumbent and past lawmakers from the House of Representatives are also included in the list. Some of them are now senators like Ejercito, and other are now part of the Aquino administration like Abad.

CONGRESSMEN

Apart from Abad, those in the list of incumbent and former congressmen are: Representatives Jesus Judin Romualdo, Banzai Nieva, Maite Defensor, Mikey Arroyo, Joel Villanueva (now TESDA director), Isidro Ungab, Reynaldo Umali, Salacnib Baterina, Conrad Estrella, Raymond Estrella, Victor Ortega, Neil Benedict Montejo, Arthur Pinggoy, Samuel Dangwa, Florencio Flores, Erwin Chiongbian, Erico Fabian, Florencio Miraflores, Napoleon Beration, Ricky Sandoval, Max Rodriguez, Rufus Rodriguez, Rizalina Seachon Lanete, Ejercito (now senator), Edgar Valdez, Scott Davies Lanete, the late Rafael Nantes, Sunny Rose Madamba, former congressman and former Customs commissioner Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon, Gerard Gullas, Carlos Padilla, Rodolfo Plaza, Arnulfo Fuentebella, Raul del Mar, Rommel Amatong, Marc Douglas Cagas, Digaden Dilangalen, the late Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo, Rodolfo Valencia, Eduardo Zialcita, Nanette Castelo Daza, Constantino Jaraula, Clavel Martinez, Manuel Ortega, Peter Falcon, Isidro Real, Corazon Malanyaon, the late Narciso Monfort, Uliran Joaquin, Joaquin Chipeco, Abdullah Dimaporo, Ernesto Pablo, Marcelino Libanan, Rolex Suplico, Benasing Macambon, Jr., Jesnar Falcon, Nasser Pangandaman, Hussein Pangandaman, Boy Umali, Bagatsing, Malapitan, Ecleo, Olano, Jesli Lapuz, Oca Rodriguez, Alvarado, Tulagan, and Nograles.

GOV’T AGENCIES

From the Department of Agriculture, aside from Alcala, are Ofelia Agawin, and Allan Umali.

From the Department of Agrarian Reform are Teresita Panlilio and Narciso Nieto.

Also in Lacson’s list are NLDC’s Alexis Sevidal, TRC’s Antonio Ortiz and Dennis Cunanan, and Nabcor’s Rhodora Mendoza and Antonio Ortiz.

Napoles listed Ruby Tuason (suspect-turned-whistleblower), Bryan Yamsuan, Jen Corpuz (from the office of Sotto), former actor Matt Ranillo, Pauline Labayen (former chief of staff of Estrada), Catherine Mae “Maya” Santos (from Legarda’s office), Patricia “Gay” Agana Tan, Alen Ruste, and Mon Arcenas as “agents.”

In a television interview Monday night, Lacson also implicated Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, while Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was also linked to the scam in another report.

DENIALS

But Marcos and Santiago denied having any dealings with Napoles.

Marcos was very emphatic in stating that he has never contacted Napoles, much less assigned his PDAF allocations to her through her bogus NGOs.

“The Napoles list, if unsigned, has no evidentiary value at all. I repeat, Lacson is an attack dog of (Sen. Juan Ponce) Enriile. The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that to allege is not proof. What is the evidence, as defined in the Rules of Court?’’ asked Santiago, a former regional trial court (RTC) judge.

Santiago stressed that the list of principal whistleblower Benhur Luy, former employee and cousin of Mrs. Napoles, linking several lawmakers and other government officials and personnel to the pork barrel scam “is substantiated by documents and details.”

Padilla, Del Mar, and Rodriguez, Malapitan, Valencia, and Villanueva belied any links to Napoles.

Padilla, Malapitan, and Valencia said they have documents showing that their signatures have been forged by men behind the transaction.

Both Del Mar and Villanueva said they have not transacted any congressional project to bogus non-government organizations linked to Napoles.

BIGGEST SURPRISE

Lacson said Santiago may get the biggest surprise of her life once she gets to see the contents of the so-called Napoles’ list.

Lacson said he can only hope the senator would be shocked when she finds her name in the list even in the list allegedly of whistleblower Benhur Luy that she wants to be subpoenaed by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

“I hope she gets the Benhur list soon so she will get the biggest surprise of her adult life. I can only imagine how she will feel. It is like being slapped with 10 kilos of pork,” he said.

Santiago, in her statement, reiterated she never had dealings with Napoles.

The government has yet to release any of the lists provided by Napoles, claiming that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is still vetting the document. President Aquino had earlier admitted having seen two of the three lists but found some discrepancies in the number of individuals involved in the fund scam. (With reports from Leonard D. Postrado, Chino S. Leyco, Mario B. Casayuran, and Ben R. Rosario)

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

‘NAPOLIST’ MERE SCRAP OF PAPER –PALACE May 14, 2014 10:29 pm by Joel M. Sy Egco Senior Reporter

MALACAñANG on Wednesday joined lawmakers in belittling the list given by Janet Napoles to former senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson (photo), saying the unsigned affidavit was just a “mere scrap of paper.”

“The list . . . what does it prove? And given the affidavit, which is unsigned, how do we proceed with that?” its spokesman Edwin Lacierda said during a news briefing.

He noted that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has in her possession an affidavit signed by Napoles that named three senators and five congressmen who allegedly received kickbacks from their priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel disbursements.

Quoting de Lima, Lacierda said the affidavit is a “work in progress.” He added that more names will be added to the “signed” list as investigation progresses.

“It’s really a work in progress. Yes, there’s already an initial affidavit, signed and notarized by Ms. Napoles, submitted to [de Lima] yesterday [Tuesday]. But the same covers only the lawmakers in the first batch of PDAF cases already filed, and the Malampaya fund [scam],” the Palace official said.

He noted that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is waiting for the “completion of the more extended affidavit which expectedly covers the entire list.”

“It’s not DOJ/NBI [Department of Justice/National Bureau of Investigation] which is preparing it but Napoles herself, as assisted by her counsels. The President’s instruction is for DOJ/NBI to vet/evaluate her allegations and, as always, to proceed where the evidence would lead us,” Lacierda said in a text message later on Wednesday.

The signed version of Napoles’ affidavit only included the names of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.

On the other hand, Lacson’s unsigned affidavit that was subpoenaed by the Senate blue ribbon committee has the names of Senators Vicente Sotto 3rd, Loren Legarda, Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, Manuel Villar, Alan Peter Cayetano, Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, Francis Escudero and the late Robert Barbers.

Sen. Miriam Santiago was not on the list submitted by Lacson, but in an interview on Monday night, the former senator said Santiago was on another list. The document also contained the names of congressmen who reportedly had dealings with the jailed Napoles, a businesswoman and alleged brains of the pork barrel scam.

Lacierda did not comment on the inclusion of Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad in the list.

“I’m not in a position to know that personally. But how does one answer allegations in an affidavit which is unsigned, which has not been sworn to? We have a process that requires an investigation, [then] it is reviewed by the Department of Justice in the case of government officials. If there’s a case, it will be passed on to the Ombudsman for further evaluation. And at which point, the Ombudsman will decide whether to file a case before the Sandiganbayan,” Lacierda, a lawyer, explained.

The Palace official said for the Napoles affidavit to have credibility, it should be finished and signed or subscribed to by her.

“Yesterday [Tuesday], media [were] putting out snippets of an affidavit which used to be unsigned. But accusations are not proof. We have seen in the criminal process, he who alleges must have proof . . . ,” Lacierda pointed out.
Now that de Lima’s affidavit has been signed, he said, the DOJ will investigate and evaluate it to determine if it has merit.

“That’s the entire purpose of the investigation proper. It’s easy to accuse, it’s easy to point a finger . . . We’re identifying how is that list correlated to whatever documental evidence there is,” Lacierda also explained.

Abad said what Lacson turned over to the Senate “is just a list” and warned the people against being distracted by unproven insinuations and allegations.

No value

Former Justice secretary and now 1-BAP party-list representative Silvestre Bello 3rd said the list submitted by Lacson has no value.

“The Senate blue ribbon committee should not have accepted the list. It is unsigned, and therefore, has no probative value. It should be treated as a mere scrap of paper,” Bello pointed out in a news conference.

“The paper is not legal. It is no solid evidence . . . nonsense. Secretary Lacson knows that it has no probative value,” he said. As rehabilitation czar, Lacson carries the rank of a Cabinet secretary.

“If they want to determine the truth, they should summon Mrs. Napoles and ask her to bring her signed affidavit so she can read it before the Senate committee. She can be then questioned on the basis of that affidavit. Secretary de Lima cannot attest to the truth on the affidavit of Mrs. Napoles,” Bello added.

No involvement
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala also on Wednesday denied any involvement in the P10-billion pork barrel scam and threatened to file charges against people linking him to the alleged list of Napoles.

“I’m sure that I have never transacted with her [Napoles]. So they have to prove everything that they are saying against me, otherwise I will file charges against them,” Alcala told reporters.

He said he still enjoys the confidence of President Benigno Aquino 3rd, and that the President has never asked him about the issue.

“Our obligations are to providing assistance to farmers and fisherfolk. We want to focus on production, which is being asked [of me] by the President, and if I failed to hit targets, then it is time for me to go,” he added.

The DA chief said his detractors are the ones linking him to the pork barrel scam. With Llanesca T. Panti and James Konstantin Galvez

FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

Palace claims at a loss on selective charges By Joyce Pangco Panares, Macon R. Araneta, Christine F. Herrera and Maricel V. Cruz | May. 15, 2014 at 12:01am

Can’t explain why only 3 senators out of 25 in Luy’s list indicted


LACIERDA

MALACAÑANG was at a loss Wednesday on how to explain why other senators who were included in the list of whistleblower Benhur Luy were not included in the first batch of cases filed against those who benefitted from the P10 billion pork barrel scam.

“I cannot answer that,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said when asked why only opposition Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. were charged, when Luy’s list included 25 incumbent and former senators.

Lacierda added, however, that the Justice Department is now investigating the other lawmakers on Luy’s list.

“I think they are in the process of doing that,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda insisted that the administration was not singling out the opposition or coddling its allies who are involved in the scam.

“Let me emphasize that we were not hasty in filing cases against what media would perceive as opposition,” he said.

“In the same manner that we have seen the resolve of the Department of Justice to file cases against its own allies. So any allegation that we are coddling or favoring our own allies is unfair,” Lacierda said.

Reports showed that there are 15 incumbent senators in the Luy list: Enrile, Revilla, Estrada, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Vicente Sotto III, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Gregorio Honasan, Loren Legarda, Aquilino Pimentel III, Lito Lapid, Cynthia Villar, JV Ejercito, Franklin Drilon, Ralph Recto and Alan Peter Cayetano.

Also in the Luy list were former senators Edgardo Angara, Manny Villar, Tessie Oreta, Aquilino Pimentel, Rodolfo Biazon, Robert Jaworski, Robert Barbers, Loi Estrada, Ramon Magsaysay and Ramon Revilla Sr.

Lacierda said the other unsigned affidavit of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles is just a “scrap of paper,” echoing Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s assessment of the list given by the Napoles family to rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson.

Luy’s former lawyer, Levi Baligod, denied the allegation in the draft affidavit given to Lacson that 97 mayors involved in the Malampaya fund scam were not charged because he talked to them and obtained their commitment to support the senatorial bid of De Lima.

“In the first place, that list is full of lies,” he said.

Baligod said it was the lawyers of the Ombudsman who went to the 97 municipalities and talked to the mayors and confirmed that their signatures were faked.

Baligod also said Napoles might plead insanity to escape a plunder conviction, because “no normal person will give five lists to five persons” – President Benigno Aquino III, Lacson, De Lima, Sandra Cam and a newspaper.

A neophyte lawmaker on Wednesday expressed shock that his name was on the list, saying he was not even a congressman when “Napoles and her gang of thieves” were plundering the government coffers.

“The inclusion of my name in one of the lists is outrageous, and makes no sense at all,” said Cebu Rep. Gerald Anthony Gullas, Jr., whose name appeared in the list that was submitted by Lacson to the Senate.

“To begin with, I am the only pure first-termer among the 69 incumbent and former members of the House of Representatives ostensibly in the list,” Gullas said.

“This is my first term ever as a Congressman. I was not even a congressman yet between the time Janet Napoles and her gang of thieves were plundering public funds, until they were finally caught,” he said.

Gullas also said from day one of his first term, his district never availed of any Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allotments.

Gullas said he can only surmise that whoever inserted his name in one of the Napoles lists was out to “sow extreme hysteria and confusion,” in an attempt to spoil the ongoing investigation into the

PDAF scam, by dragging in blameless individuals like him.

“I must say that the only parties who stand to gain considerably from this mess up are those who are truly culpable,” Gullas said.

Anti-pork groups on Wednesday questioned the release of the unsigned affidavit of Napoles, when De Lima’s list will be surrendered to the senate soon.

“The release of the Lacson version preempts the turnover of the Napoles affidavit by the DOJ. The claim that there are several versions of the list is meant to confuse the public and divert the public’s attention from the Napoles affidavit,” said Sarah Raymundo, spokesperson of the #Abolishpork movement and University of the Philippines Faculty Against Pork.

The coalition also expressed dismay over the pronouncement of President Aquino that he had in possession two lists at a much earlier time, she said.

She said the coalition fears that the list is being sanitized all the while that it is being kept from the public.

“Why is Secretary De Lima delaying the release of the Napoles list? Why is it taking too long? Only those involved in the pork barrel scam stand to benefit in the concealment of the affidavit,” Raymundo added.

Earlier, the #AbolishPork movement wrote the Justice Department saying that the decision to withhold information on the Napoles affidavit was a bad precedent in terms of government transparency.

“What the public is interested in is the prosecution of all those involved in the pork barrel scam, not a selective a process that batters political enemies but spares political allies,” Raymundo said.

De Lima admitted Wednesday she only received a signed affidavit from Napoles on Tuesday, even though she had been saying she received the document in April.

“It’s really a work in progress. Yes, there’s already an initial affidavit, signed and notarized by Ms. Napoles, submitted to the Secretary of Justice yesterday (Tuesday),” De Lima said in a text message coursed through presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda.

“But the same covers only the lawmakers (three senators and five former congressmen) in the first batch of Priority Development Assistance Fund cases already filed, and the Malampaya Fund,” she said.

De Lima again denied that the Napoles affidavit had already been sanitized.

“We’re awaiting the completion of the more extended affidavit which expectedly covers the entire list. It’s not the DOJ or the National Bureau of Investigation which is preparing it but Napoles herself, as assisted by her counsels,” she said.

“The President’s instruction is for DOJ and NBI to vet and evaluate her allegations and, as always, to proceed where the evidence would lead us,” De Lima added.

In the House, Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, the head of the independent minority bloc pressed Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to agree to a parallel probe of the pork barrel scam.

Belmonte earlier declared that such a probe would merely duplicate what the Senate was already doing.

But Romualdez said: “If we want to be enlightened, we should investigate and call Mrs. Napoles. She is the only competent person who can attest to the veracity and truthfulness of the list. That is the only honest-to-goodness way to conduct the probe, otherwise we will continue to confuse the public and we are not helping ferreting out the truth.”

House Minority Leader and San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora also said Napoles should be made to testify before the House.

“It looks like there is only one list, and that is the list that Mrs. Napoles prepared herself,” Zamora told reporters in a press conference.

“I don’t think Secretary de Lima should come here, or Secretary Lacson. They are just recipient of the list. In the end, it is only Mrs. Napoles who should testify,” Zamora said.

1-BAP party-list Rep. Silvestre Bello III slammed the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee headed by administration ally, Senator Teofisto Guingona III for accepting an unsigned affidavit from Lacson.

“With due respect to the Senate Blue Ribbon, this list should not be submitted by Secretary Lacson. It is not signed, it has no probative value, In short, it should be treated as a mere scrap of paper,” Bello said, adding that the Guingona panel should not also accepted the list.

Guingona said he would call a Senate caucus after De Lima submits the Napoles affidavit today.

“That’s the prudent thing to do—to have a caucus among members, to discuss how to proceed,” he said.

He said they were expecting De Lima to make good on their agreement that she would give them a copy of the Napoles affidavit anytime today.

Earlier, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, who was on Lacson’s list, urged Guingona to reopen hearings and sought the subpoena of records from the Budget and Agriculture departments and the Commission on Audit that were relevant to the pork barrel scandal.

Cayetano denied his own involvement in the scam.

Other senators who were on the list also denied any wrongdoing.

Senator Cynthia Villar said It is unfortunate that her name was included because she had never transacted with any Napoles NGOs.

She considered this political persecution masquerading as a search for truth is reminiscent of the 2010 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,” she said.

Senator Francis Escudero, also on the list, said the documents were meant to deceive the public and muddle the 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.

He challenged Napoles to release her signed affidavit and speak under oath.

“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.

Escudero called on the Blue Ribbon Committee to summon Napoles, Lacson and Cam.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said the inclusion of his name in Luy’s list was “illogical and baseless.”

Also on Wednesday, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines urged the Justice Department to cross-check the four versions of the Napoles list to determine their accuracy. With Rey E. Requejo and Vito Barcelo


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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