Making Napoles state witness would mean acquittal – Justice

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Justice Seretary Leila de Lima did not seem to know the implications of what she was getting into when she talked businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles into ratting on senators and other personalities implicated in the pork barrel scam, a justice said in a comment on the case.

For one, according to the justice who requested anonymity, de Lima should have known that it is not the Department of Justice (DOJ) but the Sandiganbayan that determines who can be a state witness, a role that she wanted Napoles to play.

By seeking to make Napoles a state witness, the DOJ secretary was effectively working for the busines­swoman’s acquittal under the Rules on Criminal Procedure, the justice said.

Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the scam involving the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel of legislators, told the Justice chief in a meeting on Monday that she would testify against the pork scam suspects in exchange for government protection.


“Naiintindihan ba ni Leila pinapasok niya? O hindi niya alam dahil election lawyer lang siya dati [Does Leila know what she is getting into? Or she has no idea about it at all because she used to be an election lawyer]? Only the Sandiganbayan can decide whether or not an accused can be considered as state witness,” the source said.

Rule 119, Section 17, of the Rules on Criminal Procedure states:

“Discharge of accused to be state witness. – When two or more persons are jointly charged with the commission of any offense, upon motion of the prosecution before resting its case, the court may direct one or more of the accused to be discharged with their consent so that they may be witnesses for the state when, after requiring the prosecution to present evidence and the sworn statement of each proposed state witness at a hearing in support of the discharge, the court is satisfied that: (a) There is absolute necessity for the testimony of the accused whose discharge is requested;

(b) There is no other direct evidence available for the proper prosecution of the offense committed, except the testimony of said accused;

(c) The testimony of said accused can be substantially corroborated in its material points;

(d) Said accused does not appear to be the most guilty; and

(e) Said accused has not at any time been convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude.

“Evidence adduced in support of the discharge shall automatically form part of the trial. If the court denies the motion for discharge of the accused as state witness, his sworn statement shall be inadmissible in evidence,” Rule 119 also states.

The justice said it is “very clear that Mrs. Napoles is equally guilty [as]the legislators involved in the pork barrel scam. And I cannot understand why Leila is courting her. In effect, de Lima is betraying the whistleblowers.”

In negotiating with Napoles, the justice told The Manila Times on condition of anonymity, de Lima also betrayed the government’s claim that its case without Napoles’ testimony is strong.

He said under the Revised Penal Code, a principal by direct participation can never be considered as a state witness.

“The principal by indispensable cooperation can apply as a state witness, but not a principal by direct participation like Napoles,” the source added.

De Lima, however, said she talked with Napoles only in order to search for the truth and nothing is final yet in making the alleged scam mastermind as state witness.
An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) also questioned the credibility of Napoles as a state witness.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Manila and chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace of the CBCP, also on Wednesday said Napoles “can tell all even without [her]being a state witness [because she]is already under the protection of the state.”

If the government considered Napoles as a state witness, Pabillo added, she would be free from all the charges that had been filed against her and the money that she had stolen from the people would just be wasted.

If the scam “brains” turned state witness, the bishop said, she would be selective and only pin down the three high-profile senators linked to the scandal, namely Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose  “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr.

Insult

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) also assailed as “highly unacceptable, shameless, and immoral” what it described as a “looming political compromise” by the Aquino administration with Napoles.

“In a vain attempt to pin down its political opponents, the Aquino administration has resorted to a highly unacceptable and immoral political compromise. This shameless political compromise exposes Aquino as the real handler of the Pork Barrel Queen,” Rafael Mariano, the group’s chairman, said.

Mariano also slammed de Lima.

“De Lima should not even think of making Napoles as a state witness. It is an insult to millions of farmers robbed by Napoles and her handlers in government with billions of public funds intended for agriculture,” Mariano said.

With Robertzon F. Ramirez and Neil Alcober

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9 Comments

  1. Pnoy and his cohorts are desperate to have Enrile, JInggoy and Bong convicted of this scam
    because 2016 Presidential election is just around the corner. Pnoy is doing this to help Mar Roxas. This is to divert the attention of the people. The real culprit is Pnoy himself.
    They paraded the initial whistleblowers claiming to have a slam dunk evidence, only to find out the are a lot of holes in their evidence and testimony. Then came Ruby Tuazon, another slam dunk; only to dissipate. Now Janet Napoles: she’s contradicted herself by claiming now she knows who the mastermind is. Their case against the “big three” or 100 whatever,
    will just crumble. De Lima is as incompetent as ever. She likes to open her mouth to get the attention of the media every now and then. The Big Three are just having a laugh of their life. When you have a dumb president directing THE SHOW, everything becomes a joke.

  2. Ay naku! sabi ko na nga house arrest, hospital arrest, cardia arrest – ano Bayan! Puro na lang arrest wala naman nagbabayad ng kaka-arrest. Mabuti pa ang Blue Boys ng Makati, kumikita sa dilihensya ng walan pinanagutan kundi ang lima nilang pamilya. Masyadong malaki ang perang binulsa konti lang ang nabigyan. Ano ba kayong mga kapatid hindi pa huli ipamigay nyo sa mga kapatid para masaya ang lahat. Let’s call it Naples Day! Instead of napolis ang mga pisteng yawa…Let’s all have fun coz life is too short. Let the Lord take care of them for he knows Judas not pay.

  3. dito natin malalaman na puro ampaw talaga ang nagpapatakbo sa gobernong ito. palpak na naman itong si de lima.puro lang pa media….mabuhay ang yellow ampaw government!!!

  4. excellent article.plea bargain maybe(return d ill gotten wealth first) but not turn as state witness.Napoles and all d corrupt lawmakers should b convicted based on all available evidences.I thought i heard d them saying they have airtight evidences to convict those involved in d scandals!btw u don’t just let someone who has swindled more than 10B peso from tax payers coffers just go scott free by turning state witness.

  5. daniel marahomsar on

    guilty! guilty! guilty! it is an insult indeed to make napoles a state witness! what is going on with our government..hay naku!

  6. apolonio reyes on

    I am not a lawyer more so a justice but an ordinary layman. But for me, I WILL TAKE CHANCE AND LET DOJ SEC. DE LIMA DEAL WITH THE DEVIL TO JAIL 100 CORRUPT OFFICALS AND FREE ONE NAPOLES AND EAL WITH HER LATER. LET US DEAL WITH THESE CORRUPT OFFICIALS THE WAY THEY KNOW AND PLAY AS WE MAY NEVER HAVE THIS CHANCE AGAIN. LET US REMEMBER HOW AL CAPONE. DI BA HO?

  7. Andres R. Samson on

    The whole country and its government are suffering from the Dictatorship of Relativism as Janet Napoles with all of her $688 million frozen by the US Treasury did not accumulate such hoard by winning in PH or US sponsored lottery. The law cited in this article says that only the least guilty among the accused can be a State Witness, provided that her depositions are materially corroborated. When will this high drama end and why are the PH people made to suffer this Zarzuela?

  8. Napoles is a criminal, please she should be rotting in jail, not state witness
    Daming pera kinurakot nito for years and years.

  9. Here we go again, politics in action! who really knows who else are the people who scammed the government of pdaf with napoles and the kind? the drama starts to unfold, the plan is beginning to be implemented. if the highest person of the land is involved, or the next 12 people are involved and they are pals of the highest officer of the land, then this is the plan now that we are seeing. arrest napoles, issue statements that nobody will be spared (even if they too are guilty), advice napoles to be confined to elicit sympathy (precancerous cells, my ass! it doesn’t kill her!), then de lima “woeing” napoles to give her more info, release a statement that more are still involved, lalala lala lalalala! all of these are plans a, b, c, d,… and there will be more. de lima is so dumb and so much of a “yes sir!” person. she could be the modern Ver who would just tell marcos, “ok sir”. I don’t know why she should be there anyway. She should be out of this investigation. Slowly, their plan of eventually having napoles freed with all their little dramas unfolding, is seen by the people. I hope the people don’t listen to any of this, people should just think “MANY OFFICIALS OF OUR COUNTRY ARE CORRUPT AND WITHOUT MERCY, DEFECATING ON THE POOR TO GET THEIR POCKETS FILLED, WHY DO THEY EVEN GO TO CHURCH AND PRAY? WE MUST NOT FORGET THIS, AND THE PEOPLE SHOULD CONTINUE TO PURSUE EVEN IF WE HAVE TO DO PEOPLE POWER AGAIN AGAINST ALL THE OFFICIALS OF THE LAND THAT ARE CORRUPT, WIPE THEM OUT AND REPLACE THEM WITH PEOPLE THAT CAN START THE GOVERNING WITH A CLEAN SLATE, SUBJECT TO THE AUDITING OF THE PUBLIC AND CLOSE SCRUTINY. LET US NOT LISTEN TO THEIR WORDS, PUBLICITY, AND NICE WORDS, THEY ARE ONLY WORDS!”. ang napoles na yan di ba sinabi she will not be indicted and someone very high up will help her? ito na ngayon ang plano nila, nakikita na natin.