MANILA – Detained Senator Leila de Lima on Monday slammed the extortion allegation of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles against her.
“Not everything that comes from a polluted source, especially a convicted criminal serving a prison sentence, with nothing to lose and who will do anything to get out of prison, is worth reacting to. Napoles' allegation that I extorted, or attempted to extort, money from her is one of them,” De Lima said in a statement.
Napoles made the accusation after attending the pre-trial of her pork barrel cases with former senator Jinggoy Estrada.
In her statement, De Lima said she will “not be surprised if her present government handlers are now telling her what to say and who to implicate in exchange for her liberty which has already been promised her by the Solicitor General.”
De Lima was referring to the move of Solicitor General Jose Calida to ask for Napoles' acquittal in her serious illegal detention case.
In April 2015, the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) found Napoles guilty of serious illegal detention of her second cousin, pork barrel scam star witness Benhur Luy.
Napoles is serving her sentence at the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City, while her brother remains at large.
Calida has said any development in Napoles’ detention case has no bearing on her pork barrel scam cases, but there are fears that a Napoles acquittal may weaken Luy’s credibility in the pork barrel scam-related cases.
The OSG’s move prompted critics to allege that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte may have already reached a deal with Napoles. Calida denied the allegation.