'Napoles has recording of revealing phone conversation'

by Dharel Placido, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Apr 24 2014 01:01 PM | Updated as of Apr 25 2014 02:02 AM

MANILA – The lawyer of alleged pork barrel scam player Janet Lim Napoles confirmed that her client's family turned over to former Senator Panfilo Lacson a copy of an audio recording of a ''revealing'' phone conversation.

Napoles' lawyer Bruce Rivera said he is not going to deny the existence of the recording, which was first brought up by Lacson. 

''It was raised by [former] Senator Lacson, but we will not be denying the existence. In the first place naman kasi, nandoon naman talaga siya,'' Rivera told dzMM. 

Lacson on Wednesday revealed that Napoles' husband, Jaime, and her two children, met with him last March and turned over several documents, including a draft affidavit, containing details on the multibillion-peso anomaly and a list of personalities involved in it. 

The former senator, currently the country's rehabilitation czar, said the Napoleses also turned over a flash drive containing an audio recording of the phone conversation. 

Lacson said the audio file has ''revealing'' contents but he noted that it has no value as evidence because it was a wiretapped conversation. He also refused to provide further details about the recording.

Rivera declined to identify the person in the phone conversation but he noted that the latter was ''not on the list'' of the supposed beneficiaries of the multibillion-peso anomaly.

''Sabi ko kay Mrs. Napoles, huwag mo ng i-deny, kasi andyan naman. But at the end of the day, the contents and personalities involved, hindi po namin kayang sabihin,'' he said.

The lawyer acknowledged that wire tapping is wrong, but his client nonetheless decided to reveal the phone conversation ''just to prove some point".

''It's illegal po kaya hindi namin inilabas. But at the end of the day, [she did it] just to tell, just to prove some point."

Asked about what the ''point'' was, Rivera said, ''the whole thing. I cannot go into the specifics kasi kapag sinabi ko ang purpose, malalaman niyo agad kung sino eh."

'NAPOLES IS NOT MASTERMIND'

Rivera also insisted that his client is not the mastermind in the pork barrel scam, amid mounting opposition to the possibility of turning the businesswoman into a state witness.

He said the corrupt "practice'' involving pork barrel had been in existence way before Napoles got involved in it.

''She is not the mastermind. Without stating the conditions, facts and circumstances in the affidavit, it can be proven that the practice existed before. 'Di niya ito inimbento (she did not invent this),'' Rivera said.

The lawyers of the whistleblowers on the pork barrel scam on Wednesday said they are opposing Napoles' possible admission as state witness in the pork barrel scam case following the businesswoman's decision to finally reveal everything she knows.

Napoles, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla, Enrile's former chief of staff Gigi Reyes, and several others have been indicted for plunder and graft for allegedly pocketing billions in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

The whistleblowers' camp said Napoles is not qualified to become a state witness because of her denial of any involvement in the scam in a Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing last November.

The whistleblowers also fear that Napoles will ''lie again'' and undermine the credibility of their respective testimonies.

By giving disclosures different from her testimony in the Senate, which was made under oath, Napoles now risks being charged with perjury.

PLEA BARGAIN

Rivera, meanwhile, again clarified that his client is not demanding to be turned into a state witness in exchange for her tell-all testimony.

Nonetheless, he admitted that his client is considering sealing a plea bargain deal in case she fails to secure immunity from the charges.

''When we gave the statement, we told the DOJ (Department of Justice) na kayo na ang bahala kung ano ang gagawin. We will just react. For example, if she [Napoles] will be admitted as a state witness, then we will react,'' Rivera said.

''Kung hindi, siguro we'll go to plea bargaining or other legal means, but at the end of the day, wala kaming set na scenario. Kaya nga sabi ni Mrs. Napoles eh parang suntok sa buwan ito pero wala tayong magagawa kasi kailangan nating magsabi ng totoo."