Lawyer denies Napoles linked 19 other senators
MANILA (3rd UPDATE) - Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said businesswoman Janet Napoles confirmed the participation of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Bong Revilla in the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam.
In a press conference after a meeting with President Benigno Aquino III, De Lima was asked if Napoles spilled the beans on the three senators. She answered in the affirmative: “Oh yes, absolutely.”
An ABS-CBN News source said at least 19 other senators will be linked by Napoles to pork barrel kickbacks.
When asked about this De Lima said: "Sino nagsabi nun [Who said that]? I cannot confirm."
De Lima said, however, that Napoles’ sworn statement that she got on Monday night contained “a lot of details” which the whistleblowers did not disclose.
De Lima said she cannot give any more information, based on her agreement with Napoles and her lawyer.
She said Napoles also showed documentary evidence.
Atty. Bruce Rivera, meanwhile denied the allegation that his client tagged 19 other senators.
"Pinabubulaanan po na may ganung listahan, na may 19. Ayoko po magbigay ng numero kasi hindi naman po talaga iyun ganoon," Rivera told radio dzMM Tuesday night.
"Ayoko rin pong maglabas ng kahit anong sasabihin, nag-assist po ako sa usapan nila ni Mrs. Napoles, ako po ay walang authority isiwalat po ang laman nito," he said. "Ang masasabi ko po, kung may naglalabas po na may disinuwebe o 19 senators ay misinformation po iyon."
Rivera said he can't divulge what Napoles told De Lima.
"Bilang abugado ni Mrs. Napoles, I am sworn to secrecy sa mga sinabi niya. Hindi po ako bystander doon eh, hindi po ako miron doon sa ginawa niya, ako po iyung lawyer niya na nagexplain sa kanya nung kanyang mga rights. Kaya po bilang isang abugado po, bound po ako na itago, para po akong pari, na itago ang confession ng aking kliyente, kaya po wala po akong puwedeng ilabas," he explained.
De Lima, meanwhile, said a team from the Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation led by Justice Undersecretary Jose Justiniano intends to get more details from Napoles before she undergoes surgery to remove a tumor in her uterus.
De Lima met with Napoles at the Ospital ng Makati on Monday night after the latter agreed to several conditions. The meeting started at 10 p.m. and ended at around 3 a.m. Tuesday.
“At first, I was not that obliged to meet with her, but I sent her a message that she needs to agree to my conditions,” she said.
De Lima said she wanted Napoles to tell everything she knows about the pork barrel scam. “I told her she needs to tell the truth. Walang kulang, walang sobra.”
She also told Napoles she does not want the businesswoman talking to someone else on her "tell-all" other than her. She also said she did not promise Napoles would be accepted as a witness for the state.
“My only commitment was to evaluate, study, and validate her statements very seriously and exhaustively, so we will know our next steps such as her becoming a state witness,” De Lima said.
She said the DOJ is not closing its doors to recommending that Napoles become a state witness. In the end, it will be up to the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan once the cases are filed before the court, she said.
She said there was also no discussion on hospital arrest.
PNOY'S GO SIGNAL
Before she went to Napoles, De Lima said she went to President Aquino to seek his clearance.
“His only direction is for me to listen to what she has to say and then proceed from there,” she said.
De Lima said the whole point of the meeting “is the overarching public interest to seek the truth.”
She said she knew that it was only a matter of time before Napoles would tell all.
She also believes that outside threats may have prompted the businesswoman to spill the beans.
“She was tearful when she saw me, she was clutching a rosary,” de Lima said.
Napoles told her that she and her family had been receiving threats via text messages and phone calls.
“So while she is keeping her silence, she becomes an open target… So let this be a notice to others that there is already no motivation to silence her,” de Lima said.
Meantime, a Palace official assured the public that Napoles' supposed tell-all testimony will not be sanitized to save administration allies.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that is the expectation following Napoles' testimony that has been submitted to De Lima.
De Lima met with President Aquino earlier today following her own meeting with Napoles last night.
Lacierda said Aquino instructed De Lima to continue with her evaluation of the testimony of Napoles.
He said Napoles' testimony is a significant development. Lacierda said De Lima did not give a timetable for the evaluation.
Lacierda, however, pointed out that the matter of Napoles' admission as a state witness will be up to the trial court. For now, she remains an accused.
Napoles is supposedly the mastermind of the P10 billion pork barrel scam which allegedly benefitted several lawmakers from 2007-2009 through kickbacks from projects implemented by Napoles organizations. -- with reports from Lynda Jumilla and RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News; Rose Carmelle Lacuata, ABS-CBNNews.com