THE insinuation that Janet Lim-Napoles was not mastermind of the multibillion-peso pork barrel fund scam may be unlikely but Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito is convinced that the detained businesswoman has conspirators in the executive department.
Ejercito at the same time said on Friday the pork barrel scam should not be blamed entirely on lawmakers because without the participation of the different officials of government agencies that handle the approval and release of pork funds, the lawmakers could not force them to be released.
He added that he has no doubt that Napoles was the mastermind but said the Aquino administration should also look for her accomplices at the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Commission on Audit (COA) and the agencies that implemented projects bankrolled by Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.
“I’m sure one of the conspirators is from the executive department. Whoever [he or she]is, we do not know because even the whistleblowers during past Senate hearings did not want to identify any,” Ejercito said.
He had pushed for the immediate reopening of the hearings on the scam by the Senate blue ribbon committee to investigate other non-government organizations (NGOs) not linked to Napoles but operate similarly.
Ejercito said even the whistleblowers including Benhur Luy do not want to identify their conspirators in the DBM and other government agencies that took part in the PDAF release process.
“As legislators and for us to outline or draft a bill to prevent such a scam, we need to know who [Napoles was] coordinating with and for me that is more important because it is the people in the DBM and even the Commission on Audit who knows the flow of papers,” he noted.
The suspicion that Napoles received help from people in the executive is shared by Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, who said he was convinced that somebody was protecting Napoles.
Cayetano in an earlier interview said perks and other special treatment being given to the detained businesswoman by the government were a clear indication that somebody was backing her up.
The senator also noted that when Napoles was detained in a special facility, the reason given by the government was that it wanted to ensure her safety.
But, Cayetano said, the government also granted everything she wished for, including an extended hospital stay and more time for her to draft a new affidavit.