MANILA, Nov 8 (Mabuhay) – Detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles’ denials during the Senate hearing on the alleged misuse of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) did nothing good to her as it can be used in the plunder complaint filed against her, a senator said Friday.
Senator Francis Escudero said Napoles’ evasiveness during the hearing did more harm to her than good.
“Nakasama (‘yung pagtanggi niya) dahil makikita natin ang preview ng kanyang depensa sa Ombudsman. De-deny niya pero problema niya may testimony at documents mula sa whistleblowers at AMLA (Anti-Money Laundering Act) na nagpapatunay na nagsinungaling siya,” the senator said.
He believed that Napoles’ legal option has narrowed because of her denials.
“Lumiit na ang legal maneuver na pwede magawa ni Napoles pagdating sa Ombudsman o Sandiganbayan. Dahil sinabi niya “’di totoo ‘yan, wala akong kinalaman, ‘di ko kilala ang congressman,’ lumiit na ang legal maneuver maliban na lang kung aamin siya sa perjury at nagsinungaling sa Senado,” he said.
During Thursday’s hearing of the blue ribbon committee, Napoles repeatedly answered “hindi ko po alam,” “hindi po totoo ‘yan,” “wala pong ganyan,” and invoked her right against self-incrimination several times.
Blue ribbon committee chairman Sen. Teofisto Guingona III earlier said that the committee will evaluate Napoles’ testimony and will study if perjury charges will be filed against her.
Escudero said Napoles threw her chance of coming out and protecting her life, as mentioned by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago.
“Sayang naman kasi baka may ibang piraso pa ng PDAF scam na maaring punan ni Napoles. Sayang ang pagkakataon, tinapon niya ang oportunidad na mag-come out siya at sabi nga ni Sen. Santiago, pangalagaan ang buhay kung may threat,” he said.
He added that because of this, there is no reason to put Napoles in a special detention cell.
“Wala na siyang dahilan para pa bigyan ng special treatment. Puwes ngayon, alam natin ‘di niya balak umamin, wala siyang balak sabihin at walang rason para bigyan siya ng espesyal na pagtrato,” he said.
“Bakit pa nila binibigyan ng bullet-proof vest at P150,000 (budget) para sa PNP kung walang threat? ‘Wag na din bigyan ng special treatment dahil wala naman palang sasabihin na kagula-gulantang at ide-deny lang pala niya,” he further said.
In an interview on Unang Balita on Friday, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV believed the picture has been completed even with Napoles’ denials and the blue ribbon committee can now finalize its report on the pork barrel scam.
“In my assessment, e buo na ‘yung kwento. Hindi naman kami nagiimbestiga para i-prosecute (ang mga tao kundi) in aid of legislation. Tinitignan namin kung paano mai-improve ‘yung ating sistema para hindi na maulit ito,” he said.
Asked on the possibility of making Napoles a state witness, Trillanes said it should be studied thoroughly but he believed the businesswoman will not give any information on other personalities involved in the scam.
“Realistically out of character for her to do that. Ang nakikita kong gagawin niya ay she’d rather wait it out for the next administration kung medyo friendly at ‘yun ilulusot na nila,” he said. (MNS)