Napoles camp on turning state witness: 'Why not?'


Posted at May 09 2017 08:45 AM | Updated as of May 09 2017 09:31 AM

Napoles camp on turning state witness: 'Why not?' 1
Janet Lim Napoles. File Photo/ABS-CBN News

MANILA - There is nothing wrong if businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, the face of the previous administration's anti-corruption drive, would turn state witness and name those behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam, one of her lawyers said Tuesday.

"Bakit hindi, for the sake of the Filipino people? Ayaw ba ng taong malaman nila kung sino talaga ang mga involved dito?" Atty. Stephen David said in a phone interview with radio DZMM.

(Why not, for the sake of the Filipino people? Doesn't the public want to know who is really involved here?)

Napoles is accused of masterminding the pork barrel scam, which funneled the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) of lawmakers into the ghost projects of non-government organizations she allegedly set up.

Among those tagged in the controversy were former Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla and other legislators.

In 2015, Napoles was sentenced to up to 40 years in prison for the illegal detention of her cousin Benhur Luy, who accused her of detaining him in a subdivision in Makati City to prevent him from baring the PDAF anomaly.

The Court of Appeals (CA) on Wednesday overturned the conviction of Napoles in the illegal detention case "based on reasonable doubt."

David said Napoles had wanted to turn state witness even before the latest legal victory.

"Iyung desisyon niyang maging state witness, matagal na iyan e. Ayaw lang siyang tanggapin noon ng dating administrasyon kasi may mga kaalyado sila noon na tinamaan doon sa sinasabi ni Janet," the lawyer said.

"Si Janet is just a high school graduate. Maniniwala ka bang kaya niyang i-manipulate ang buong Senado at Kongreso?" he added.

(She wanted to become a state witness long before. But the previous administration did not allow her because some of their allies were tagged in Janet's statements. Janet is just a high school graduate. Do you believe she can manipulate the entire Senate and Congress?)

In exchange for her testimony, David said he will seek the house arrest of Napoles and the dismissal of the separate plunder and graft cases against her.

David also denied that Napoles' acquittal was part of a deal with the administration to implicate opposition lawmakers in the PDAF scam.

"Wala po akong alam na ganoon. Ang pagkaka-abswelto niya ay based naman po talaga sa ebidensyang nailabas sa Senado na wala naman po talagang illegal detention," he said.

(I know no such thing. Her acquittal is based on the evidence presented in a Senate investigation showing that no illegal detention occured.)