MANILA, Philippines - Janet Lim-Napoles will not face the senators when she spills the beans on some of them in the pork barrel scam, her lawyer said yesterday.
Bruce Rivera said Napoles is hoping the Senate Blue Ribbon committee would decide not to call her to testify on her tell-all affidavit submitted to the Department of Justice earlier this week.
Rivera admitted his client is scared of the prospect of facing the senators, some of whom are reportedly included in the list she submitted to the DOJ.
He said the much-anticipated tell-all testimony could end up as a “lynching game” with Napoles possibly pointing to members of the Senate involved in the fund anomaly.
“We don’t intend to ignore or downplay the power of the Senate, but we would plead with our good senators to leave the testimony of Mrs. Napoles to the proper forum,” Rivera told The STAR.
“It will be improper to allow Mrs. Napoles to make tell-all testimony in front of those she is accusing. We’re just hoping the Senate will have the prudence, tact and circumspect not to allow such scenario,” Rivera said.
Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, said there is no rush to have Napoles appear at the hearing.
Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Grace Poe were among those who supported calls to have Napoles and Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes appear before the Senate.
Reyes, the former chief of staff of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile who was also accused in the pork barrel scam, came home after eight months overseas, while Napoles has started reaching out, apparently to break her silence on the issue for which she has been tagged as the mastermind.
Guingona said “the Blue Ribbon committee has opted to take the prudent course regarding this matter.”
“We will wait for Secretary De Lima to finish documenting the supposed disclosure of Janet Lim-Napoles. Upon receipt of the affidavit of Janet Lim-Napoles by the Blue Ribbon committee, the same will be evaluated before we make the final decision,” he said.
Rivera said Napoles prefers to reveal everything she knows in the pork barrel scam “only in the proper forum” so as to be “spared from political factors.”
This was precisely the reason, Rivera revealed, why Napoles and her family decided to approach Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
He said the family believed De Lima is free of political influences in doing her job.
Rivera also confirmed the family of Napoles met with former senator and now Yolanda rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson, whom they also trusted since he is known as one of the few lawmakers who never touched his pork barrel.
“Of course, we are aware of the political factors. Like what we’re seeing now – there are already political angles. That’s why we wanted to go to the proper forum. That’s why we went to De Lima and Lacson,” he explained.
Rivera said they handed Lacson a draft affidavit, which reportedly listed over 100 personalities – including at least 10 other previous and incumbent senators – but stressed the document was just a “draft and unsigned.”
“The family gave him documents but they were not complete. The figure (100) could be higher because the list with Secretary Lacson was just partial. The complete list was given to Secretary De Lima,” the lawyer revealed.
Rivera again refused to divulge the exact number of personalities mentioned by Napoles in her affidavit.
“I saw the list and there’s just too many names that I could not even count them. What we can confirm at this point is that there’s really a list,” he said.
Rivera also begged off from discussing details of the supposed “real principal” to be named by Napoles in her tell-all testimony, saying it would be “best to just wait for the testimony.” – Marvin Sy