Lawmakers told: 'If you're not guilty, why worry?'

By Edu Punay, The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 29 2014 02:38 AM | Updated as of Apr 29 2014 10:38 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Lawmakers should not fear the long list of personalities implicated by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles in the pork barrel scam if they're sure they are not in it, her lawyer Bruce Rivera said yesterday.

Rivera urged senators and congressmen who insist that the Department of Justice disclose the list submitted by Napoles to wait for the DOJ’s validation of the details provided in her tell-all affidavit.

“Why are they so alarmed about the list? With all due respect to our senators and congressmen, if they are confident that they are not involved in the scam then they should not worry at all,” Rivera told The STAR.

Rivera echoed the explanation of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima that the department is still verifying the information provided by Napoles and they could not yet release the list to the public.

“That’s precisely the reason why we don’t want to prematurely release the list so as not to unfairly include allegations against people that are not supported by evidence. We just want to be fair,” he stressed.

He said that this is also the reason why the “false” list reported in the media is unfair.

“It’s unfair because the people would think the list to be released by the DOJ is already sanitized if they see differences with that reported list, when in fact that list reported in the (newspaper) included names not really in our list,” he lamented.

Among those who called for the immediate release of the list were Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, Senators Francis Escudero and Sergio Osmeña III.

Rivera said that Napoles refused to face the senators when she spills the beans on some of them in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.

He said his client is hoping that the Senate Blue Ribbon committee would not summon her to testify in another public hearing regarding information in the affidavit she submitted last week to the DOJ.

Rivera admitted that Napoles is scared to face the senators, some of whom are reportedly included in the list.

He said the much-anticipated 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 like to plead to our good senators to leave the testimony of Mrs. Napoles to the proper forum,” he appealed.

“It will be improper to allow Mrs. Napoles to make a tell-all testimony in front of those she is accusing. We’re just hoping the Senate will have the prudence, tact and circumspection not to allow such scenario,” the lawyer appealed.

Rivera said Napoles prefers to reveal everything she knows on the pork barrel scam only in the proper forum so as to be spared from political factors.