NAY PYI TAW, Myanmar, May 12 (Mabuhay) – No less than President Aquino has confirmed that some of his allies have been included in lists of lawmakers that are being linked to multibillion-peso pork barrel scam of Janet Lim Napoles.
However, he also pointed that there are three different lists of lawmakers who allegedly benefited from the scam. At least two of the lists do not match, he said.
“I think I have seen, iyong physically seen, I have seen two and they don’t agree with each other exactly…They supposed to have come from Mrs. Napoles,” he told reporters.
“[Former] Senator [Panfilo] Lacson was telling me of another list given to him by relatives of Mrs. Napoles, ano. And, again, there is a substantial detail there that doesn’t again agree with the other two. So when you ask me: ‘Did you see a list?’ I think the best answer is I have seen physically two lists and I am told that there is a third list.”
Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the P12 billion pork barrel scam, earlier submitted to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima a list of lawmakers who allegedly helped her siphon billions of pesos in priority development assistance funds to her fake foundations.
Lacson later revealed that he also received a list of alleged lawmakers who benefited from the scam. Lacson’s list was allegedly given by Napoles’ husband, according to de Lima.
A third list is allegedly being kept by Whistleblowers Association of the Philippines president Sandra Cam, who has not disclosed its contents. Cam has also yet to reveal who gave her the list.
President Aquino said de Lima is already investigating two of the lists. He said he got a copy of the list from Mrs. Napoles even before she talked to Secretary de Lima.
“Iyong first one, I think, was transmitted to me, which I in turn gave to Secretary de Lima. At that point in time, she didn’t want to talk to Secretary de Lima. The second list naman with Secretary de Lima was when she asked to meet with Secretary de Lima when she had a change of heart,” he said.
“Now, iyong list with Secretary Lacson, noong we were discussing Yolanda, so that was just a passing topic. Just parang give me a little highlights; and the highlight itself was not consistent already with the other two.”
The President noted the lists he and de Lima received do not match. He also said some of his allies are in some of the lists.
“Merong alleged, maraming hindi. Pero alam ninyo kasi parang kapag sinabi kong may discrepancy, iyong number nagfa-fluctuate e. Iyong unang list na ipinadala sa akin X numbers sabihin natin, ano. Iyong next list na nakita ko, minus three. Tapos iyong binabanggit sa akin parang plus four. O di ba, parang, hindi merong ganun phrase: ‘Ano ba talaga ate?’ Hindi ba? Parang ganun,” he said.
Lacson earlier hinted there are as many as 16 senators in the list he is holding.
Asked if he would release to the public the list supposedly already signed by Napoles, the President said Napoles’ testimony is still a work in progress.
“The way she was narrating certain things, she will show some alleged evidence to it, then she’d go on tangents e. Pero ang point lang ha, iyong unang pinadala, pangalawang pinadala hindi nga magkatugma . So ‘di ba is it safe to reveal? Parang even that by itself, you have to resolve first: why are there differences in the information you are getting from the one witness who is supposed to be narrating facts? So one cannot escape, di ba, parang the suspicion that instead of trying to clarify matters, (they) are trying to cloud the whole issue, make the process much more difficult,” he said.
He also said he has doubts that the emergence of the different lists of lawmaker-beneficiaries may just be a ploy to delay the investigation and prosecution of the case till his term is over.
“Iyong natanggalan ka ng oras – iyong binawasan ka ng oras para mapuntahan iyong talagang may patutunguhan. Tatapunan ka ng detalye, kinonfuse iyong buong issue. By the time ready ka tapos na iyong two years namin na natitira. Pero siyempre conscious tayo na baka ganun rin iyong objective. Pero I was really taken aback by that changing of numbers. That seems to be such a very principal and material fact,” he said.
Nevertheless, the President said the lists only encourage government to further investigate the pork barrel scam.
“I’d rather give it to the Ombudsman right away becausethat will be the end point, that will where you will determine iyong value of the testimony and be able to evaluate; and that is the only arm that where you can file a case before the Sandiganbayan.”
“Parang ang value sa atin ‘non, if she says the truth, thank you. If she says some of the truth and some of it lies, even the truth that will support the lies or will try to make the lies seemingly true, will help us in ferreting out the truth.”
The Office of the Ombudsman is expected to resolve complaints for plunder filed by the justice department concerning the pork barrel scam.
The first set of complaints were filed against Napoles, some congressmen and Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada and their aides.
Those cases are widely expected to be filed before the anti-graft court, triggering the issuance of a warrant of arrest.
The Aquino administration has come under fire for refusing to publicize the list, maintaining it only seeks to properly vet the information first. (MNS)