Baligod: Lacson's Napoles list not credible

by Dharel Placido, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at May 14 2014 02:53 PM | Updated as of May 15 2014 03:35 PM

MANILA – Lawyer Levito Baligod on Wednesday said the affidavit given by alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim Napoles to former Senator Panfilo Lacson is not credible, claiming people who are out to muddle the controversy could be behind it.

''Maaaring may nag-udyok sa kanya at sigurado akong di rin siya ang naghanda ng papel na iyan. Maaaring sinabing 'merong kaming gagawing papel at sabihin mong ikaw ang naghanda nyan,''' Baligod, former lawyer of key whistleblower Benhur Luy, told dzMM.

''Ang mga tao sa likod ng papel na iyan eh iyung mga nasasakdal ngayon na hindi niya idiniin sa papel na iyan at 'di pa niya isinali."

Baligod said the Napoles list given to Lacson has names of lawmakers who should not be on the list.

''Hindi ko maintindhan ang batayan niya sa pag-lista ng senador at congressmen. Dahil sa hanay ng senador, nagsali siya ng 'di na incumbent, kagaya ni late Senator [Robert] Barbers. So kung nagsali siya ng 'di na incumbent, eh bakit 'di niya sinali ang lima pang senador na 'di na senador ngayon,'' he said.

''Tapos kung incumbent naman ang pag-uusapan. Meron din siyang 'di sinali, pero meron siyang isinali na tatlo na hindi dapat kasali doon dahil alam ko po ang kwento tungkol sa tatlong sitting senators na iyan."

The Lacson list includes 11 incumbent and former senators. It also includes the names of 69 congressmen, either former or current, one of whom--Joseph Victor 'JV' Ejercito--is now a senator.

''Meron nang nababanggit na senador na maliwanag sana na medyo kasali sa listahan pero di niya isinali,'' Baligod said.

In an interview on ABS-CBN's Bandila on Monday evening, Lacson said Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago was on the list. However, when the Lacson list was made public, Santiago's name was not there.

Baligod also said the list disclosed by Lacson is ''unfair'' because it includes a name of a senator who Napoles knows never allocated pork barrel funds to her allegedly bogus foundations.

''Alam ni Ginang Napoles iyan kaya kapag titignan niyo ang PDAF [Priority Development Assistance Fund] ng senador na iyan wala talagang napunta sa NGO ni Ginang Napoles, pero sinali pa rin niya sa listahan niya."

The lawyer also noted that Napoles seems to have absolved Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile's former chief of staff, Atty. Gigi Reyes, in her affidavit given to Lacson.

''Si Atty. Gigi Reyes, hindi po sinali sa affidavit niya, hindi man lang binanggit. Ang sinabi lamang niya eh ang nagpe-prepare ng papers ay si Reyes at si Atty. Antonio Evangelista. Pero hindi niya sinasabi na nakakausap niya ito o siya mismo ang tuimatanggap ng kickback,'' he said.

''Ang idinidiin niya eh si Ruby Tuason."

Ruby Tuason was a respondent in the plunder case filed against Reyes, Senators Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr., and several others. She was recently granted immunity by the Ombudsman in the pork barrel cases.

Baligod also fears that Napoles could use the ''insanity'' card in order to escape charges in connection with the multibillion-peso anomaly.

''Nabasa ko po ang diumano'y inihanda niyang di pirmadong affidavit na ibinigay kay Lacson. Ang pinapatunayan lamang ng affidavit na iyan, assuming na ginawa ni Ginang Napoles, eh 'di ako magtataka kung ang magiging depensa ni Napoles sa mga cases is insanity,'' he said.

ABAD AS NAPOLES MENTOR?

Baligod said he also found several loopholes in Napoles' unsigned affidavit, such as the businesswoman's claim that former Batanes congressman and now budget secretary Florencio Abad was the one who mentored her and taught her how to execute the scheme.

Abad has already denied the allegation, saying there is a smear campaign by people who want to undermine the reforms introduced by the Aquino administration.

Baligod noted that even before supposedly engaging in anomalous pork barrel transactions, Napoles was already involved in other illegal deals with government agencies and even the military.

''Bago pa niya makiklala ang sinasabi niyang nagturo sa kanya eh gumagawa na siya ng anomalous transactions,'' Baligod said.

''Bago pa ang sa DOTC (Department of Transportation and Communications) noong 2002, sa Philippine Navy marami tayong witnesses na marami siyang conversions,'' he added, referring to the P407 million DOTC scam involving the alleged ghost deliveries of computers and mobile communication equipment.

In her affidavit, Napoles said that she was introduced to Abad in 2000, marking the start of the alleged mentor-mentee relationship between the two.

Baligod refuted this and said, ''Mapapatunayan po na last quarter of 2012, eh nagkukumahog si Janet Napoles na makipag-meet kay Secretary Abad. Meron tayong dalawang kilala na dating opisyal ng gobyerno na hiningan ni Napoles ng tulong para maipakilala siya kay Butch Abad. Sinama nila si Napoles sa DBM pero di daw nila nakausap si Sec. Abad dahil mayroon siyang meeting noon."

''Ang sinasabi natin eh kung last quarter of 2012 eh gustong makilala ni Napoles si Butch Abad, eh paano niya sasabihin na matagal na niyang ka-transaction ito at siya ang nagturo sa kanya?"

Baligod said the supposed lies in the Napoles affidavit given to Lacson only show that the businesswoman is still not a credible person.

Napoles, in a previous meeting with Justice secretary Leila De Lima, said she was willing to tell everything she knows about the scam. She also furnished De Lima with a more comprehensive affidavit and list of people involved in the scam. The Senate has already ordered de Lima to produce the list.

DE LIMA'S SENATORIAL AMBITION?

Baligod also branded as a lie Napoles' claim that he talked to at least 97 mayors whose respective local government units were named as beneficiaries of P900 million in Malampaya funds.

''Kinausap ko daw ang 97 mayors na diumano ay beneficiaries ng P900 million na Malampaya funds, para di ko raw sila isasali sa complaint kung susuportahan nila na tatakbo si Sec. De Lima sa Senado,'' he said.

''Hindi po niya siguro alam ay nag-field investigation ang Ombudsman mismo sa mga munisipyo at nakumpirma nila na walang nalalaman ang mga mayors na iyan at pati ang singatures nila ay pineke talaga."

The Malampaya fund scam involves the alleged pocketing of P900 million meant for victims of typhoon ''Ondoy'' and ''Pepeng'' in 2009.