I never allocated PDAF to Napoles NGOs, Chiz says
MANILA - Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero believes Janet Lim Napoles is trying to muddle the whole pork barrel scam controversy by making a supposed list of lawmakers who allegedly benefited from the multibillion-peso anomaly.
Escudero was one of the incumbent senators allegedly implicated by Napoles in the pork barrel scam, former Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson said on Monday evening.
Escudero, however, belied the report and said he never allocated his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to any bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) set up by Napoles.
"Not true po. I never allocated funds to any of her NGO's. I think she is just trying to muddle the issue," he said on his Twitter account on Tuesday in response to a question by Change.org Philippines campaigns director Inday Espina-Varona.
In a live interview on "Bandila" on Monday, Lacson named 5 government officials allegedly included in the pork barrel scam lists made by Napoles and key whistleblower Benhur Luy.
Aside from Escudero, the other 4 are Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, Senator Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan, and Budget Secretary and former Batanes Representative Florencio "Butch" Abad.
The three senators charged with plunder for the anomaly -- Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile, and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. -- are also included in the lists, Lacson said.
He said a total of 21 senators, 12 of them incumbent and 9 former lawmakers, are in the lists.
'Napoles has no evidence'
In an earlier interview with radio dzMM before Lacson named names, Escudero had said that Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the scam, only wants to confuse the public.
He noted that a supposed pork scam list was given to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, another to Lacson, and another to Whistleblowers Association of the Philippines president Sandra Cam.
He pointed out that these lists should not be merely taken at face value, and must be backed up by evidence.
"Bakit may listahang ipinadala kay Ping? Bakit may listahang ibinigay kay Sandra Cam? Bakit may ibinigay na listahan kay Secretary Leila De Lima?"
"Porke ba't biglang nagsalita si Napoles, totoo na agad lahat ng sinasabi niya? Corroborated ba yan ng ibang whistleblowers? May dokumento bang kalakip yan?"
"Yan ay pahayag ng isang testigo na ang pangalan ay Napoles. Ang tanong may ebidensya ba siya o wala, o salita lang niya ang basehan?" the senator said.
Escudero said he is confident that Napoles does not have strong evidence to back up her claims in the supposed lists.
"Alam ko kung ano ang totoo, alam kong wala siyang hawak na pruweba, alam kong salita lang niya yun para idamay ako. Ano ngayon kung nandoon ako?... Salita lang ni Napoles, biglang masisiraan na ako at masisira na ako," he said. -- With report from dzMM