Six of the 12 incumbent senators tagged by Janet Lim-Napoles in her expanded sworn affidavit on Tuesday separately denied involvement in the pork racket and are considering filing charges against the businesswomen for besmirching their reputation.
Sen. Loren Legarda maintained that she never received monetary or any form of illegal benefits from her priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.
“I categorically deny in the strongest terms allegations that I had any dealings with Napoles or any of her group,” Legarda said in a statement.
She noted that her PDAF allocations were given to accredited government agencies and local government units mainly for construction of 300 classrooms worth P150 million and substantial monies to fund scholarship programs for poor children and basic needs of disaster-affected families and poor patients seeking medical assistance from the Philippine General Hospital and other government-owned hospitals.
“I have never dealt with them (Napoles group) and have never even heard of their foundations. I have never authorized anyone in my staff or outside of my office to transact with anyone,” Legarda noted.
“I never endorsed any NGO to benefit from my PDAF. Any statement to the contrary contained in any affidavit is a perjured lie and is actionable criminally against those involved in this smear campaign,” she said.
Legarda said her lawyers are studying the possibility of filing charges against Napoles, who claimed that her transactions with the senator through a certain Maya Santos amounted to P39.5 million. The businesswoman said Santos played a lead role in processing, signing and selecting projects to be funded.
Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. also claimed that he never met Napoles.
In her 32-page sworn affidavit submitted to the Senate blue ribbon committee on Monday, Napoles admitted that she never met Marcos because it was also Santos who approached and presented to her various projects from the office of the senator.
Marcos said Maya Santos was Catherine Mae C. Santos, a consultant for various congressional committees and detailed at his office from January 2011 to June 2013.
The senator feels that Napoles cleared him of any participation with her admission that they never met.
“While Napoles has cleared me of any participation in the PDAF scam, let me reiterate that my office is willing to fully cooperate with concerned government agencies so we may all get to the bottom of this,” he said.
Sen. Cynthia Villar also denied knowing Napoles and told reporters that she may file either a personal or class suit against the businesswoman.
Senate Majority Floor Leader Alan Peter Cayetano challenged Napoles to appear when the blue ribbon committee resumes its hearing on the same case.
According to Cayetano, he never met Napoles or asked or received any amount of money from her.
Describing Napoles’ accusations as illogical and unreasonable, Cayetano said the businesswoman aimed mainly to divert the issue and force those being implicated to defend themselves.
Cayetano added that the content of Napoles’ affidavit was enough to indict her for plunder.
Sen. Vicente Sotto 3rd also downplayed the issue, saying Napoles “doesn’t deserve my attention.”
Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero admitted having met Napoles once but could not recall where.
He denied having asked or received money from Napoles for his political campaign.
Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd said libel and perjury suits are being readied by his lawyers against Napoles for implicating him in the PDAF scam.
He added that the accusations are “damaging my reputation” and that of his father, former senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr.
Napoles said she had transactions with the Office of Sen. Pimentel amounting to P10 million that were conducted through the intervention of his former wife, Jewel, and a certain Luis Louie Cruz, who acted as agent.
Pimentel admitted that in May 2012, he met Napoles, who requested him to finance one project out of his pork barrel allocation. “I rejected her request,” he said.