Napoles to name more high-ranking officials in PDAF scam, says lawyer

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 11 2017 04:17 PM

MANILA - Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles is ready to name high-ranking officials involved in the fund diversion scheme as her camp held initial discussions with government on her admission as a state witness.

Her lawyer Stephen David bared this yesterday following "exploratory talks" with Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on the possibility of Napoles serving as witness in criminal cases that stemmed from the scheme. 

Napoles has long been accused as the "architect" of the scam, which involves the diversion of lawmakers' Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) into fake non-government organizations (NGOs) and foundations. 

The racket, uncovered in 2013, led to the scrapping of discretionary funds traditionally allocated to lawmakers. 

Turning state witness would entail dropping charges against Napoles, including plunder, malversation and other graft cases now on trial stage at the Sandiganbayan. 

David made the assurance that Napoles would tell the truth and wouldl name more names, including officials higher than lawmakers. 

"Even higher pa [than lawmakers] siyempre. Kung sino'ng involved dapat maano talaga… mas marami pa," David said.

David said talks with the Aquino administration for Napoles' admission as a state witness did not prosper as allies might have been affected.

"Mayroong talks noong sa previous administration pero hindi nga natuloy kasi nga may mga allies sila na apektado kaya hindi na tinuloy," David explained.

Only three senators, all from the opposition bloc then, were indicted in connection with the scam: former Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada.

Also indicted were several representatives, heads of implementing agencies, officers of the budget department, Napoles, and other private individuals.

Napoles' camp began talking about her possible discharge as state witness after the Court of Appeals (CA) acquitted her from the serious illegal detention case in connection with the alleged abduction and detention of her former aide and relative, Benhur Luy, the scam whistleblower.