THE camp of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles belittled the testimonies of six local executives who claimed that they never received anything from Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
Defense lawyer Stephen David over the weekend described the mayors as “non-essential” witnesses, saying they do not intend to cross-examine them.
Prosecutors presented the witnesses before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan’s Third Division in a hearing last Friday on Napoles’ bail petition.
Napoles is Enrile’s co-accused in a P172-million plunder case in connection with the pork barrel scam.
In defense of his client, David argued that “it is the NGOs’ obligation to deliver,” referring to non-government organizations.
“That is not Mrs. Napoles’ job, so if it is true that no deliveries were made by the NGOs or agencies, she has no knowledge of (those). In fact, she has no control whether they make deliveries or not,” he said.
The six witnesses were Municipal Mayors Eldred Tumbokon of Umingan, Pangasinan and Bartolome Ramos of Santa Maria, Bulacan; former Municipal Mayor Ricardo Revita of Rosales, Pangasinan and Municipal Agriculturists Francisco Collado Jr. of Umingan, Pangasinan; Rodolfo Mendoza of San Miguel, Bulacan and Imelda Eugenio of Santa Maria, Bulacan.
The mayors were listed as beneficiaries of Enrile’s PDAF but denied receiving any funding supposedly coursed through the NGOs for projects that purportedly aimed to help farmers.
Enrile is accused of amassing P172 million in kickbacks by pouring his pork barrel funds into bogus projects in conspiracy with his aide, Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, Napoles and her employee John Raymund de Asis as well as nephew Ronald John Lim.
The 90-year-old senator is under hospital arrest while Reyes and Napoles are detained in in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City (Metro Manila).
De Asis and Lim remain at large.