MANILA - Justice Secretary Leila de Lima confirmed Thursday that she is still hoping that alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles would reveal everything she knows in the controversy.
Speaking before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, De Lima said she turned down calls to bring Napoles to a regular jail because she still has expectations that the businesswoman would turn state witness.
"We are still hoping that Mrs. Napoles will tell all because she is the key to unlocking the whole truth if and when she decides to tell the truth," she said.
"We have expectations na baka magsalita nga at sayang ang pagkakataon. Maybe in the near future or while the case is in Sandiganbayan. Let's see if she is willing to talk," she added.
De Lima said she understands that there is a cost involved in keeping Napoles incarcerated at Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. Napoles is in jail for a serious illegal detention charge filed by whistle-blower Benhur Luy.
However, the justice chief said the potential benefits in Napoles' tell-all testimony would outweigh the cost in keeping Napoles in Fort Sto. Domingo.
"Secondary na lang ang considerations na gastos to the ultimate end that we will find out the whole truth," she said.
Sen. Francis Escudero has urged the Department of Justice to put Napoles in a regular jail after she refused to name accomplices in the alleged scam. Under the scam, lawmakers would funnel their priority development assistance funds (PDAF) to non-government organizations set up by Mrs. Napoles in exchange for a cut of the funds.
At least 38 people including three senators are facing charges before the Office of the Ombudsman for their alleged involvement in the scam.