MANILA (UPDATE) – Alleged pork barrel scam player Janet Lim Napoles is now ready to tell everything she knows about the multi-billion peso scam, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said, in what could be a major development in one of the biggest corruption scandals in the country's history.
Napoles said she will finally speak up after remaining silent on her alleged illegal pork barrel transactions with several lawmakers and government officials, de Lima said in an interview at the Ospital ng Makati before dawn on Tuesday.
"I came to see her on her request. Nag-padala siya ng feelers before the Holy Week and sabi niya she's ready to speak up. She's ready to tell all and would execute an affidavit kaya kinunan namin siya ng statement ngayon. I agreed to talk to her on those conditions that she would tell all that she knows about the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) scam,'' De Lima told ABS-CBN News.
De Lima said Napoles has also asked if she could be turned into a state witness, but the Justice secretary said she has not made any promises to Napoles yet.
"Sabi niya she would of course want to be a state witness, but I told her I cannot make such a commitment because it is not for me to decide because it is with the Ombudsman,'' de Lima said.
According to de Lima, Napoles made the decision to speak up before her scheduled operation.
The businesswoman is set to undergo an operation at the Ospital ng Makati on Tuesday to address her uterine cyst, according to her lawyer Faye Singson.
''She will be undergoing surgery so ang pinaka-request niya - that's why I had to see her na rin - because ang sabi she needs to talk to us and tell what she knows before siya mag-undergo ng surgery,'' de Lima said.
''Maybe she thinks na - you don't know, may danger - when you undergo medical procedure anything can happen that's why she pleaded to talk to me para makuha na raw ang kanyang statement for her consideration."
De Lima said she cannot yet reveal the rest of what the controversial businesswoman told her.
She added the recent return to the Philippines of Gigi Reyes, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile's former chief of staff, was not considered by Napoles as a factor in deciding to come forward.
The Office of the Ombudsman earlier found probable cause to file plunder and graft charges against Napoles, Senators Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada Jr., Ramon “Bong” Revilla and several other personalities for the alleged pocketing of billions of pork barrel funds coursed through bogus non-government organizations.
Napoles was earlier detained at Fort Sto. Domingo in Laguna for a separate serious illegal detention case filed by her former aide, pork barrel scam key witness Benhur Luy.