‘Napoles unlikely pork mastermind’
JANET Lim-Napoles could not have masterminded the pork-barrel-fund scam because she was only a high school graduate, her lawyer Stephen David said Sunday.
“Do you think a high-school graduate can fool or convince very good lawmakers, and for that matter senators?” David told dzBB radio.
In other developments:
• Rep. Edcel Lagman on Sunday slammed Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre III for giving Napoles provisional admission to his department’s witness protection program.
“The Justice secretary can’t wait to give Napoles the freedom [to be a] [state] witness,” Lagman told dzBB radio.
“Her affidavit is still under scrutiny, and yet she was already granted the provisional admission as early as Feb. 27.
“Well, many have surmised that Napoles will [just] be weaponized. What they mean is that she will be an instrument to implicate the allies of former President Benigno Aquino III.”
• Opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Sunday said President Rodrigo Duterte and not Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre was the real mastermind behind all the “legal maneuvering” involving Napoles.
“Make no mistake, Justice Secretary Aguirre is merely a pawn,” Trillanes said.
He said turning Napoles into a state witness in the pork barrel scam cases was sending a chilling message to the other legislators implicated in the anomaly.
David was referring to the allocation of former senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr.’s pork barrel to ghost projects through several foundations organized by Napoles.
“Can you believe in that? She is not a senator, a congresswoman, a President or a [Cabinet] secretary. How can she dictate on the people? She cannot manipulate people,” David said.
He said even the witnesses during the cross-examinations pointed to some other people, not Napoles, who could have actually made money in the scam.
“Why point to her as the mastermind?” David said.
“She is just a private person. How can she manipulate intelligent lawmakers? She has not even reached college level to be able to take control of the Senate and the entire Congress.
“That is too impossible. It was just fabricated by the past administration that she was the mastermind.”
Napoles was charged with several cases of plunder and graft before different divisions of the Sandiganbayan for her involvement in the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
Based on a certification written by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Maria Nerissa Carpio of the Justice Department, Napoles “has been provisionally covered by the Witness Protection Security and Benefit Program effective February 27, 2018.”