Baligod asks: Will the court believe Napoles?

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 20 2018 12:12 PM

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MANILA - Lawyer Levito Baligod criticized Tuesday the inclusion of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles in the government witness protection program in hopes of catching more "big fish" in the scam. 

Speaking to ANC's Headstart, Baligod said there is no need for Napoles considering he already submitted all the evidence in the pork barrel scam "including Napoles and non-Napoles non-government organizations" with the Department of Justice. 

"Let's be practical. Will the court believe Napoles considering her reputation for truthfulness? Number 1, why was she not included into the program during [Leila] de Lima's time? Because when she prepared her affidavit, it was shown to us and we formally objected her admission because she included names that should not be there," he said. 

"Her reputation for truthfulness is very bad. It is very easy to demolish her credibility...She had been telling everybody she was a legitimate businesswoman, she has her own money but she cannot prove..."

He noted Napoles linked one legislator as having funneled priority development assistance funds to bogus non-government organizations from 2007-2009 "when he was not even a legislator at that time." 

He added that Napoles also omitted legislators "who should be there." 

Napoles, who is accused of masterminding the P10 billion pork barrel scam, has been provisionally admitted to the witness protection program, according to the DOJ. 

Whistleblowers earlier said Napoles convinced legislators to funnel their priority development assistance funds to her NGOs in exchange for a cut of the funds. 

In the same interview, Her lawyer, Stephen David, said Napoles admitted that some legislators were involved in "other transactions" not related to the PDAF including insertions, election contributions, and even the disbursement acceleration program. 

SELECTIVE PROSECUTION

During the interview, Baligod also said detained former Justice Secretary Leila De Lima practiced selective prosecution in the filling of charges against personalities involved in the pork barrel scam.

"I strongly believe that she engaged in selective prosecution," he said. "I will state what I know and I also want redress for what they did in the PDAF investigation. The (last) government interdicted the people’s effort to seek justice."

Baligod said De Lima ordered him to "focus" only on certain cases, particularly on the PDAF cases from 2007-2009.
 
"I was especially asked by Sec. De Lima together with Ombudsman to focus on 2007 and 2009 because COA was already conducting a special audit and the documents are readily available," he said. 

But because De Lima broke her promise and instead filed cases against 25 legislators only, Baligod said he took it upon himself to file directly with the office of the Ombudsman.
 
"That's why we filed cases against 17 LP members," he said.

Baligod said he was already apprehensive about De Lima when she asked him to hold on to his complaint first.

He said he communicated with De Lima about the PDAF scam and met with her on March 1, 2013. In that meeting, De Lima told him not to file his complaint yet because she has to brief then president Aquino first. 

When they met again a few days later, De Lima told him that the president was "ambivalent dahil hindi daw niya alam kung hanggang saan at kung sino ang aabutin nito."

"What I said was bahala na kayo. I have already submitted to your office my complaint," he said.

David, however, said Napoles can supply the "missing link.' 

"I am very happy that Atty. Baligod is collaborating my position. There are other personalities which the sir (former President Aquino) did not want to investigate at that time. There is also this revelation that Secretary De Lima and Honoroble Ombudsman only directed him to focus on PDAF, not DAP, not insertions...why is it we will not be needing Mrs. Napoles right now?" he said.