Did Napoles give funds to LP?

by David Dizon, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at May 12 2014 04:58 PM | Updated as of May 13 2014 01:27 AM

MANILA - Senate President Franklin Drilon on Monday said he is unaware if alleged pork scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles gave millions of pesos in campaign donations to the Liberal Party (LP) for the 2013 polls.

Speaking to ANC's Headstart, Drilon first denied that Napoles gave money to the LP for the 2013 polls. However, he also admitted that he was not in charge of fund-raising activities for the LP since he was working as campaign manager.

"No. Although I was not the fundraiser, I was the spender. I am not aware that she funded. Not to my knowledge. I do not know. As I said, I deny that. We never discussed that and I am not part of the fundraising but there was no such funding," he told Headstart host Karen Davila.

He also said he never received any money from Napoles for his own campaign.

Whistle-blower Association of the Philippines President Sandra Cam was the first to link Drilon to Napoles, saying the Senate president has known Napoles since 2005.

She also alleged Napoles gave as much as P100 million to the senatorial campaign of the Liberal Party in 2013.

In the ANC interview, Drilon confirmed that Napoles is a "social acquaintance" but denied ever having professional dealings with her.

He pointed out that even pork scam whistle-blower Benhur Luy confirmed that he (Drilon) turned down requests from Napoles to funnel his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to Napoles foundations.

"I had no professional dealings with her at all. I never assigned a single peso of my PDAF entitlement to her...She is a social acquaintance but I never, never had any dealings with her insofar as my PDAF is concerned," he said.

He also denied that he is included in an alleged list of lawmakers submitted by Napoles to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. The list allegedly reveals the names of lawmakers who benefited from the pork barrel scam.

There are actually three alleged lists of lawmakers being linked to the scam: one is with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, another is with rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson, and a third is with Sandra Cam.

Drilon said rumors that say he is part of the list is just black propaganda. He said he already released details of his PDAF availments in October last year.

He also said he is backing the release of the list so that the names of innocent lawmakers will not be tarnished.

"Let the people judge. I think that is part of the black propaganda. It is quite unfortunate that a single photograph has placed me in this situation but I am willing to challenge those evidence, who have evidence against me to come out," he said, referring to a photograph showing him with Napoles.

He also doubts President Aquino or Secretary de Lima will invoke executive privilege so that the list will not come out. De Lima earlier said she will need to vet the list and get more details from Napoles on why the lawmakers were involved in the scam.

President Aquino has pointed out that at least two of the lists do not match.

"I don't think he will (invoke executive privilege) because precisely this whole scandal was brought to the open because of the policy of the President of transparency, of not tolerating corruption. In another regime, this would have been covered up but not with President Aquino," Drilon said.

The Senate president said his relationship with Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla remains cordial despite the allegations against them. The three are facing plunder charges before the Ombudsman for their alleged links to the scam.

"They know I am trying to protect the institution. I know that I am trying to be rational about the whole thing. We have a very cordial relationship and it hasn't changed but it doesn't mean that we will not follow the law," he said.