JANET Lim Napoles’ signed affidavit has been made public.
From the introduction, one can believe that these are the words of a woman who has decided to tell the truth–as God wishes her to.
She denies being the brains behind the PDAF scam.
She names people who belong to the political camps of those who could fight President Aquino’s anointed bets for the 2016 election as well as a few of those who are known to be his close allies. Of the latter, the most important is the chief of the President’s Department of Budget and Management, Secretary Florencio Abad.
Foes of the Aquino administration have zeroed in on Mr. Abad as the President’s right hand man, his most trusted and closest planner, braintrust, strategist and co-worker. Some even believe that the Malacañang official who really runs the government, who calls and presides over Cabinet cluster meetings, is Secretary Abad.
Now, Mrs. Napoles has listed Sec. Abad among those who benefited from the P10-billion PDAF or pork barrel scandal. In her affidavit, she even makes it sound as if it was Secretary Abad who taught her what a Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) is. And it was also, she says, Sec. Abad who taught her that one needs to use a non-government organization (NGO) or a cooperative to be seen as the implementer of any project.
It is worth examining what Mrs. Napoles actually wrote about Secretary Abad. For if what she wrote really dooms the DBM chief, then we can trust her revelation to be the real thing.
But if the narration of Secretary Abad’s involvement in the scam does not quite convict him of any malfeasance, then we must conclude that Mrs. Napoles’ affidavit is nothing but a part of the drama to titillate the public. And to confuse us all—including the good justices of the Sandiganbayan and possibly the Supreme Court—on whether the testimonies of Mrs. Napoles and those of Ben Hur Luy and the other whistleblowers have any value as evidence.
This is what Mrs. Napoles wrote:
“Nagkakilala kami ni Congressman Florencio Abad dahil kay Mr. Manuel Jarmin. Nagkita kami sa isang Japanese Restaurant sa Edsa Shangri-la Plaza hotel. Pinakita niya sa akin yung Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) tapos pinaliwanag niya sa akin para saan iyon. Binigyan ko siya ng 2M Pesos nung meeting na iyon. Noong lumabas ang Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) binigyan ko siya ulit ng 2M Pesos doon sa Cravings, Katipunan. Noong pinagusapan namin ang implementasyon ng project, tinanong niya ako kung meron akong NGO or COOP. Nung sinabi ko na wala sinabi niya sa akin na siya na daw ang bahala. Sa aking pagkakalala [the document appears to have the error of “pagkakalala” instead of “pagkakaalam”]ginamit niya ang Batanes Electric Cooperative para implement ang proyecto. Kalaunan binalik niya sa akin ang 4M Pesos na binigay ko sa kanya na may dagdag pa na Php 2M.”
Our Translation: “Congressman Florencio Abad and I came to know each other because of [it doesn’t say “through”]Mr. Manuel Jarmin. We met at a Japanese Restaurant in Edsa Shangri-la Plaza hotel. He showed me that Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) then he explained to me what it was for. I gave him 2M Pesos at that meeting. When the Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) was released I gave him another 2M Pesos in Cravings, Katipunan. When we discussed the implementation of the project, he asked me if I had an NGO or COOP. When I said I had none he told me he would take care of it. What I know is he used the Batanes Electric Cooperative to implement the project. A long time later he returned to me, with an additional Php2M, the 4M Pesos that I had given him.”
This does not look to us like Mrs. Napoles is implicating Secretary Abad of any crime. It will only make justices asked questions the answers to which will confound everybody and make it harder to show that Mr. Abad had misused any money.
We think the drama is still on. It was heightened some days ago when Justice Secretary Leila de Lima made a melodramatic appeal to the Senate: “Please do not make Napoles’ affidavit public.”
It’s now public. But we see that it will take years to figure out who stole what, who were Mrs. Napoles’ mentors, who the real masterminds are, and who among the persons she mentions have been unjustly lumped with the crooks.
This case could take more years to resolve than the Ampatuan Massacre.