• ‘Pork’ witness names senators in bail hearing

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    PORK barrel scam witness Merlina Suñas on Friday revealed the names of other lawmakers who allegedly had transactions with Janet Lim-Napoles during Napoles’ bail hearing at the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division.

    The revelation came after Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang asked the witness to identify the other senators not mentioned in her affidavits.

    Suñas answered: “Senator Loren Legarda, Senator [Ferdinand] “Bongbong” Marcos [Jr.] and Senator Vicente Sotto [3rd].”

    The witness identified their agent as Maya Santos, who is reportedly a former employee of the Department of Agriculture and a friend of Napoles.

    Suñas told the court that she knew that Santos acted for the three senators because she (Santos) was the one who allegedly goes to their respective offices to bring the lawmakers’ documents, including Special Allotment Release Orders.

    She explained that the transactions she was made to testify on pertained to periods other than 2007 to 2009, so she did not include the three senators who also transacted with Napoles.

    Suñas at a later point mentioned again the names of Senators Marcos, Legarda and Sotto.

    She also implicated Rep. Rizalina Lanete and without providing first names she mentioned the names “Dangwa, Jaraula, Valdez, Plaza, Ortega, Estrella, Umali, Cagas, Olaño, Fuentebella,” as well as Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and his brother Abante Mindanao party-list Rep. Maximo Rodriguez.

    Associate Justice Alex Quiroz then commented, “You seem to have so sharp [a]memory on non-members of the Liberal Party. You mean to say that the members of the Liberal Party are all saints and the non-members are all sinners?”

    Associate Justice Samuel Martires then asked her if then Sen. Benigno Aquino 3rd had PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel) transactions, as well as Sen. Franklin Drilon, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Teofisto Guingona Jr. Suñas gave the same answer to each question: “Wala po [None], Your Honor.”

    Martires then mentioned Biazon, and Suñas replied, “Yes, Your Honor.” When asked which Biazon has transactions with Napoles, she said without elaborating: “Sila pong dalawa [The two of them], Your Honor.”

    Earlier, Suñas said she had serious apprehensions when she executed her affidavits. “May takot po ako [I was scared], sir,” she told Napoles’ lawyer Dennis Buenaventura on cross-examination.

    “Natatakot po ako pag si Madam Janet Napoles po ang magiging kabangga ko dito, sir. Si Madam po ay marami siyang…kakilala…sa gobyerno, sa military [I feared crossing Mrs. Napoles, She knows many in the government and the military],” she also explained.

    Later, she said Napoles, a businesswoman, had filed a complaint for stealing cars against her in May 2013, which case was eventually dismissed.

    Suñas mentioned during the hearing that her former boss, Napoles, had a falling out with her and Benhur Luy that stemmed from a meeting on December 19 when Napoles “grabbed” Luy’s cell phone, and scrolled through the messages because of suspicions that Luy was having “hidden transactions.”

    The businesswoman saw the name of Santos, Suñas said.

    “Sayang ang pinagsamahan natin [What we went through is wasted],” Sunas quoted Napoles, who she said called her on the night of December 20. The last day she reported for work was December 21.

    Meanwhile, after the hearing, Napoles told reporters, “Lalabas din ang katotohanan [The truth will out].”

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