Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles is not a credible witness, according to Senator Miriam Santiago, whose name is reportedly being dragged into the multi-billion scam.
Santiago said that Napoles’ credibility has become suspect after the businesswoman accused the senator as one of several lawmakers who illegally diverted billions of pesos from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) into bogus organizations, without any supporting document.
Santiago called for “enlightened skepticism” in accepting Napoles’ new version of events. She expressed concern following Napoles’ claim that she had transactions with other public officials who were not identified by the witnesses who had testified before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
“Napoles could be damaged goods. How come that her former employees have documented dealings with named public officials, but they never mentioned other public officials whom Napoles is now scheduled to reveal?” Santiago said.
Santiago also pointed to Senator Juan Ponce Enrile behind the recent development, adding that Enrile will do everything to implicate her and the allies of President Benigno Aquino III in the pork barrel scam.
“I am honored to be included in his roll of victims because it indicates that he is feeling my barbs. Akala ko nakalimutan mo na ako. Salamat at naalala mo pa pala ako,” Santiago said.
“I am confident that there is absolutely no evidence against me. The story is all based on anonymous sources,” she added.
Santiago also brushed aside reports published by a major daily, which she described as “cowardly journalism” and libelous for failing to identify its sources and cite official documents.
Santiago claimed that “there is a vast, costly, and sinister disinformation operation” to compel the Ombudsman to grant the motions for reconsideration of three senators whom she has found to be liable for plunder in the pork barrel scam.
“The principals in this massive psywar operation are: Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, his former chief of staff Gigi Reyes and Enrile’s ally and attack dog Panfilo Lacson,” Santiago said during a recent speech at the Lyceum University in Laguna.
“Enrile, 90, is facing suspension from office as senator, and imprisonment in a detention cell while facing trial. He is desperate to prevent the Ombudsman from filing the case against him in court,” Santiago said.
She said that this “trinity of unholy conspirators” include Lacson and Reyes, because both were granted safe haven in Cagayan, his hometown, by Enrile.
Santiago said Lacson was a fugitive from justice who was never punished by the court when he finally appeared.
“Where is Reyes? Nobody knows. Why would Lacson come forward with a spurious document, one month after he claims that it was handed to him?” Santiago said.
The senator warned the public, particularly in Metro Manila, to “keep your composure and remain level-headed” during what she claims will turn out to be a “massive psywar disinformation campaign using pork barrel kickbacks.”
She said the aim of the psywar campaign is to discredit the Aquino administration, and distract public attention away from the trial and prosecution of those charged with plunder.
“This is a diversionary tactic, very similar to the so-called Zamboanga uprising. Both are bankrolled heavily, because they are intended to forcibly turn public attention away from the criminal culpability of those charged with plunder. For the respondents, this is a desperate make-or-break situation,” she said.
Santiago is a member of the Senate blue ribbon committee looking at the pork barrel scam. Earlier, she wrote the committee chair Sen. Teofisto Guingona III to recall Napoles to the witness stand.
Santiago called for a new hearing on the basis of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s statement that Napoles promised to give a complete list of all the public officials that had dealings with.
Napoles started creating NGOs beginning in 2000, which became implementing agencies or conduits for ghost projects funded by the pork barrels of lawmakers.