MANILA (Mabuhay) — President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday said that he does not remember meeting alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles even before the scandal broke out.
“I tried to research in my mind if I ever came across her or even heard of her name and I hope I am not turning senile but I don’t recall any incident,” Aquino told reporters at the 7th ASEAN Navy Chiefs’ Meeting at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati City on Tuesday.
“Did I ever meet her? Iyong to the level na baka nakipagkamayan o may nag “hi” ganoon, I can’t even say I ever said “hi” to her,” he added.
After it was revealed that some lawmakers, the latest of whom is Senate President Franklin Drilon, were revealed to have met her before the controversy over the pork barrel came out, the President was asked whether he met Napoles in the past.
Late last month, Aquino himself announced the P10-million bounty for Napoles.
On the same day, Napoles personally surrendered to Aquino.
Aquino, however, said he did not remember her when she appeared before him even though he is “normally very good with faces.”
“You know, when I saw her when she came to the Palace, I was trying to look at her and I don’t remember her,” he said.
“She doesn’t look familiar whatsoever. In fact, I’ll be very honest with you, parang compared sa pictures na nakita ko sa diyaryo at saka iyong kaharap ko, may konti akong…Parang may pumasok lang sa isip ko for a little while, ‘Ito ba talaga itong hinahanap natin?’” he added.
He likewise said it would have been “useless” for Napoles to approach him when he was still a lawmaker because he barely had any pork barrel.
“Wala na kaming pork. Wala na kaming PDAF. Tapos kung ang interes niya sa legislator ay maghanap ng kung paano makaka-access ng PDAF, parang useless niya ako kausapin,” he said.
Napoles’ camp had said that Napoles surrendered to the President as he was “the only person they could trust.”
Malacañang, however, said that they did not strike a deal with her nor did they give her any special treatment. (MNS)