MANILA -- Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Thursday denied a report that she received an eight-page memo naming Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile as the mastermind of the pork barrel scam.
"I'm surprised about that 8-page memo. There's no such thing as 8-page memo" Morales said in an ambush interview at the Senate shortly after the approval of her agency's budget at the plenary.
The Ombudsman was asked about the veracity of the Inquirer report, which said that an assistant Ombudsman submitted to her an 8-page memo stating that Enrile was the unseen hand orchestrating the pork barrel scam.
She said she has no knowledge of Assistant Ombudsman Joselito Fangon's supposed 8-page memo stating that it was Enrile, not businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, who orchestrated the P10 billion scam.
“Clearly, no matter how layered the scheme may have been perpetrated or unrelated the players may appear, all facts point to Senator Enrile as the unseen hand directing the compass and the tempo of the whole orchestra,” Fangon said in his memo, quoted by the Inquirer.
Morales added that plunder charges have yet to be filed before the Sandiganbayan and that investigation is still on going.
"I have several memos. I don't recall about an 8-page memo. Pero ang memo na natatanggap ko, more than 200 pages," she said.
"They recommended that the charges be subjected to preliminary investigation. Iba yung preliminary investigation, iba yung filing of case sa Sandiganbayan."
Miriam: Janet no longer most guilty
Reacting to the report, Enrile's staunchest critic Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, said Napoles can no longer be considered as the most guilty among the accused in the plunder case.
Santiago explained that there are six requirements for an accused to be discharged as state witness:
absolute necessity for her testimony;
no other direct evidence except her testimony;
substantial corroboration in the material points of the testimony;
the accused has not been convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude; and,
the accused does not appear to be the most guilty.
"If the Sandigan(bayan) discharges Napoles as a state witness, this means that in effect she has been acquitted. But she has to comply with the condition that she must specify every single detail of the scam hatched by the mastermind and carried out by her fake NGOs," Santiago said in a statement.
The feisty senator, a former trial court judge, also said that once the charges are filed before the Sandiganbayan, Enrile, and two other co-accused senators, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla, will be ordered suspended by the anti-graft court under the anti-plunder law.