REVEALING the names on the supposed list provided by pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles could only “cloud the whole issue” rather than ferret out the truth, President Benigno Aquino 3rd said.
The President said Napoles’ supposed affidavit that named lawmakers who were in on the scam remains a “work in progress” and must be evaluated by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
“Is it safe [to]reveal? Even that by itself, you have to resolve first: Why are there differences in the information you are getting from one witness who is supposed to be narrating facts? So one cannot escape . . . the suspicion that instead of trying to clarify matters, [it could]cloud the whole issue,” he added.
Aquino said Napoles would narrate certain things then go on “tangents.”
“I’d rather give [the list]to the Ombudsman right away because that will be the end point, that will be where you will determine the value of the testimony and be able to evaluate; and that is the only arm that will/can file a case before the Sandiganbayan,” he added.
The President said he directed Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to let Napoles finish what she wants to say so that her testimony can be submitted to the Ombudsman for evaluation.
If Napoles lied in her affidavit, it would be easy to detect and such lies may even lead to the truth. That is the real value of the purported list, Aquino noted.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said former senator Panfilo Lacson must back his claims with evidence to preserve the integrity of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Lacson has said the list he has could cause the collapse of the Senate.
“I spoke with [Lacson] earlier regarding the list of current and former members of Congress who are allegedly involved in the PDAF [priority development assistance fund]issue. Like what [Lacson] said, we believe that it is important for [Congress] to preserve its integrity . . . Because of this, it should be determined if there is concrete evidence to serve as basis in facing the issue,” Coloma told a press briefing.
Even the supposed involvement of two Cabinet secretaries in the pork scam had been raised by Lacson with President Aquino before Aquino flew to Myanmar for the Asean summit.
As the clamor to have the Napoles list grew, Sen. Teofisto Guingona 3rd on Monday signed a subpoena directing de Lima to submit all documents Napoles gave her.
Guingona said he also expects Lacson to submit his copy of the list and other documents entrusted to her by Napoles’ husband Jimmy during their meeting last March.
The head of the Senate blue ribbon committee added that de Lima must submit by Thursday certified true copies of Napoles’ list and affidavit.
Napoles handed the list to de Lima last month during a five-hour meeting before the business woman had surgery at the Ospital ng Makati.
De Lima said Napoles submitted an unsigned affidavit, including a list of of senators and congressmen as well a other ranking government officials who received kickbacks for the release of their pork barrel.
She refused to divulge the names on the list, saying she needed to evaluate it first.
Lacson has said he also has a copy of the list as well as the unsigned affidavit of Napoles. Like de Lim a, he refuses to disclose its contents.
Sandra Cam, the president of the Whistleblowers Association of the Philippines, is also claiming to have the Napoles list, but she insisted it should be de Lima who should reveal the names.
Guingona said de Lima must honor the subpoena.
He added that Lacson promised to turn over the documents he has this week.
“I think it’s time already in the spirit of transparency that this
He added that he has not set a date for revealing the list’s contents.
Some senators are pressing the committee to subpoena other documents in the possession of de Lima and Lacson.
Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano wants the committee to subpoena records from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Commission on Audit (COA) and Department of Agriculture (DA).
He also wants copies of special allotment release orders (SARO), notices of cash allocation (NCAs), COA audit reports and other supporting documents relevant to the PDAF scam investigation.
Sen. Francis Escudero said the committee should also summon Cam and other individuals who are claiming to have the Napoles list.
Sen. Miriam Santiago asked the committee to invite whistleblower Benhur Luy and make him testify on his own list.
Santiago said only Luy’s list is more “definitive and substantiated” than the “spurious documents inadmissible as evidence” claimed by Napoles, Lacson and Cam.
De Lima said she will comply with the Senate subpoena.