2 senators willing to spare Napoles from perjury case

by Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 23 2014 05:20 PM | Updated as of Apr 24 2014 01:20 AM

MANILA - At least two senators are willing to spare Janet Lim Napoles from perjury charges if the alleged mastermind of the pork barrel scam finally tells everything that she knows about the scam.

Senator Sergio “Serge” Osmeña III said Napoles could be absolved of the liability if she finally confesses her involvement in the scam.

"If you can prove that she was lying, yes she would be liable for perjury. But that can now be overlooked by her confessing in great detail about the circumstances leading to the crime," Osmeña said.

"Mas importante ang confession niya in pursuing the case. It has happened many times in the past na in the beginning ayaw umamin pagkatapos magbe-breakdown at magco-confess."

Osmeña said Napoles could also apologize to the Senate.

"She will not be sued for perjury if she comes to the Senate, she would say 'I'm sorry, I lied,'" he said.

"Hindi ko naman minamaliit ang process of charging a person who had perjured herself. But it all depends upon which is the more important factor. And if we believe that she is now finally telling the truth, an apology would be sufficient."

Senator Antonio Trillanes said he understands why Napoles did not tell the truth at the onset.

Trillanes is also willing to spare Napoles from a perjury case, saying her confession would outweigh her reluctance to speak at the beginning if it would identify lawmakers who benefited from the scam.

"Dito sa Senate investigations, we're after the bigger picture, the greater interest of the state. In this case, kung makita natin talaga who are involved and what's the real story. So with that, kahit i-waive natin 'yung mga possible infraction of Senate rules for that greater interest. So okay lang 'yun."

Both senators support a proposal for the Blue Ribbon Committee to invite Napoles back to the Senate for another hearing on the scam.

They say, however, that Napoles should finally tell all.

Her testimony should be corroborated by other witnesses for her to be considered credible, said Osmeña.

"You must have corroborating evidence. Dapat magkatugma ang sinasabi ng ibang witnesses. Otherwise, it would not be credible if she says it's blue and the other witnesses say it's red. Ngayon kung sinasabi niya red din ang tingin [niya], then that would determine her level of credibility," Osmeña said.

Blue Ribbon committee chair TG Guingona is still in the process of consulting members if Napoles should be invited back to the Senate.