MANILA (Mabuhay) – President Benigno Aquino III on Monday said there are still things preventing him from buying the testimony of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and supporting her bid to become a state witness.
In an interview with reporters in Albay, Aquino said he is wary of the changing attitude of Napoles.
“[Noong] una ayaw [niya] kausapin si [Justice] Secretary Leila de Lima. Pagkatapos ngayon gustong kausapin si Secretary Leila de Lima,” he said.
Aside from this, he said he is suspicious of the differing number of scam conspirators mentioned in lists which all supposedly came from her.
“’Yung unang listahan katorse ang senador na binanggit, sampu ang incumbent. ‘Yung panibagong listahan, minus three. ‘Yung sinabi nung abogado nabasa ko sa pahayagan, na ‘yung tinatapos nilang affidavit magdadagdag at hindi ko alam kung magbabawas rin,” he said.
Because of this, he said there is still a need to vet her testimony further before deciding what to do.
“Manigurado tayo, ano bang sinasabi nito?” he said, adding that Napoles still needs to prove that she is not the most guilty to be considered a state witness.
“Sa ngayon parang siya nasa sentro… Siya ang koneksyon ng lahat. Parang mahirap naman yata sabihin na at this point, sa nababatid ko, paano natin sasabihing siya’y ‘not the most guilty’ kung nasa sentro siya?” he said.
Aquino, however, said that the government will still be able to use her testimony even if part of it turns out to be a lie.
“Kung magsasabi siya ng totoo, makakatulong. Kung hindi siya magsasabi ng totoo, matutulungan rin tayo dahil kailangan mong suportahan ‘yung pagsisinungaling ng katotohanan,” he said.
“So mangyari ang mangyari. Kausapin natin ito. May mapupulot tayo sa kanya even willingly or unwillingly from here,” he added.
Last week, de Lima said there is already an initial signed affidavit from Napoles but that it is still a “work in progress.”
Napoles had earlier committed to come clean about the scam in the hopes of being granted immunity.
She has a serious illegal detention case filed by whistleblower Benhur Luy. She also faces plunder charges in connection with the pork barrel scam along with Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. (MNS)