MANILA - Justice Secretary Leila de Lima denied Thursday "sanitizing" the list of lawmakers linked to the pork barrel scam of Janet Lim Napoles and criticized a major daily for reporting that only three senators and five ex-congressmen were in the list of lawmakers being linked to the pork barrel scam.
The justice chief said she informed President Spokesman Edwin Lacierda that she has in her possession the list of lawmakers and a signed affidavit submitted by Mrs. Napoles.
She said the initial signed affidavit covered only the three senators and five former congressmen included in the first batch of charges filed by Department of Justice.
She said the list and the affidavit are different, and that Napoles will need to submit a narrative to explain the list.
"Who said that the list only has three senators? Nobody said that the list only contains 3 senators. I never said it. I don;t think Secretary Lacierda said it because the information from that affidavit came from me. Not even Secretary (Panfilo) Lacson will say that because the list is long," she said.
"I think talagang may naglalagay ng slant, may nagdi-distort ng mga info, ng mga facts. Iba yung sinasabi nung ini-interview at iba yung sasabihin sa balita."
De Lima also rejected a news report that she sanitized the Malampaya scam charge sheet by failing to file charges against 97 mayors who received a portion of the Malampaya funds.
The report, which came out in the Philippine Star, cited the unsigned 30-page affidavit of Napoles that typhoon rehabilitation head Panfilo Lacson turned over the other day to the Senate Blue Ribbon committee along with a list of lawmakers allegedly implicated by the businesswoman in the pork barrel scam.
The draft affidavit pointed to socialite Ruby Tuason, who is turning state witness in the pork barrel scam, as well as Medy Poblador, personal secretary of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when she was president, as the Palace conduits in the alleged release of P900 million from the Malampaya Fund in November 2009 that was used for the election campaign in 2010.
The unsigned affidavit, made public by the Blue Ribbon committee, states: "Later on, I found out that no one from the ninety seven (97) mayors was included in the charge sheet by the Department of Justice ("DOJ") because Atty. Levito Baligod ("Atty. Baligod") interviewed each mayor involved and promised their exclusion in the cases provided that they will support the candidacy in Senate of the DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima."
De Lima, however, denied that she sanitized the charge sheet in the Malampaya fund scam. She said she is disappointed that the unsigned affidavit has been released to the public.
"That is really foul and irresponsible. It is supposed to be contained in a purportedly unsigned affidavit...," she said.
She said she also saw the unsigned affidavit and noticed that the information contained was "hearsay."
She said pork scam whistle-blower Benhuy Luy and the other whistle-blowers had already testified that the 97 mayors were victims in the scam because their signatures on documents linking them to the scam were forged.
De Lima said she is incensed that she is now being attacked for investigating the pork barrel scam. "Let me do my job," she said.
The justice chief confirmed that Napoles has made a manifestation to turn state witness. However, she said she is still thinking whether to make a recommendation to the Ombudsman or let the Ombudsman make the decision.