Bishops speak out

Pastoral on pork scam out; Napoles draws up full list

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philipines appealed to government officials linked to the multi billion pork barrel scam not to use the power of their office to obstruct the pursuit of truth amid reports that alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles would submit on Monday a final and detailed affidavit that would identify the lawmakers and other people involved in the multi-billion peso scam.

CBCP president Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan Socrates Villegas made the call in his Pastoral Guidance on the Pork Barrel Scam  titled “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good” in a bid to end speculations and bring out the truth behind the pork barrel scam.

“We invite all those implicated in the pork barrel scam to allow impartial investigation to take place. If they are in public office, they must not use the power of their office to obstruct the pursuit of truth,” Villegas said.

The CBCP leader likewise called on the media to be fair in reporting and not be one-sided.

“We plead with the media to be fair in protecting the good name of people. Let those who have been implicated be given proper forum and proper coverage to explain their actions.”

The affidavit, according to her lawyer Bruce Rivera, was supposed to be submitted to the office of Justice Secretary

Leila de Lima last week but Napoles was not able to complete it because of her adverse health condition.

The affidavit could determine if the government would give Napoles immunity or turn her into a state witness against the public officials involved.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte in a radio interview, said the Palace is still waiting for Napoles to submit her testimony.

“Let us wait for her affidavit before she makes demands. In American colloquial language, you put your money where your mouth is,” she said.

Napoles has asked the Justice department to give them more time to prepare a full testimony.

Napoles is presently confined at the Ospital ng Makati after she reportedly experienced bleeding.         

Her private physician, Dr. Efren Domingo, confirmed that Napoles experienced bleeding since May 17. He said Napole’ health condition has to be managed to avoid further aggravation, and she would need complete bed rest and intravenous medication to control the bleeding.

Rivera said her client will identify more senators and other politicians, including allies of President Benigno Aquino III, in the new list.

He said Napoles is willing to reveal her knowledge about the involvement of politicians and other personalities in the scam.

The lawyer said the illegal transactions did not just happen from 2007 to 2009, but as early as 2000. He added that Napoles has in her possession checks, vouchers and transaction records to support her allegations.

Rivera said Napoles’ husband, Jimmy, is also asking the lawmakers implicated in the scam to inhibit themselves once the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee started the re-investigation of the case.

Meanwhile, whistle blower Merlina Sunas corroborated Napoles’ allegation that Budget secretary Florencio Abad was one of her first conspirators in Congress when he was still a representative of Batanes.

Reports on GMA News “24 Oras” showed that an affidavit executed by Sunas in November 2013 indicated that Abad was one of the House members that transacted with Napoles between 1997 and 1999.

Abad denied this, saying Napoles is out to destroy the Aquino administration.

Aside from Abad, Sunas affidavit also showed that Sen. Ramon Revilla Sr. was also the first senator Napoles had dealings with in connection with scam.

Sunas said it was Revilla Sr. that endorsed his son, Ramon Revilla Jr., to the Napoles group when the latter was elected senator in 2004.

Meanwhile, Sunas said she will no longer employ lawyer Levito Baligod as legal counsel in the case.

The Makati court is handling the case filed against Napoles and her brother Reynald Lim who were charged with serious illegal detention for detaining their cousin, pork barrel scam whistle blower Benhur Luy, in a house in Magallanes Village, from December 2012 up to March 22, 1013.

The serious illegal detention case is separate from the plunder charges filed before the Office of the Ombudsman. Aside from Napoles, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada were also indicted for their alleged involvement in the illegal diversion of billions of pesos from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) into bogus organizations.

Meanwhile, Rivera laughed off reports that Janet Lim Napoles had sex while inside the Ospital ng Makati.

Rivera was reacting to reports that one of the possible reasons why his client experienced vaginal bleeding while confined at the said government hospital was sexual intercourse.

Rivera said a number of guards and nurses are roaming around and monitoring patients inside their respective rooms, so it’s impossible for Mrs. Napoles to have intimate contact at the hospital.

Rivera said Napoles felt insulted about the insinuation. 

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