MANILA (Mabuhay) – A Sandiganbayan Justice asked the prosecutors about alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles’ sworn affidavit during the pre-trial of Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.’s plunder case on Wednesday.
Associate Justice Rafael Lagos said he did not see among the documents of evidence Napoles’ affidavit that she executed in her bid for immunity, which was later junked by the Ombudsman.
The prosecuting panel, led by Joefferson Toribio, said it has yet to receive a copy of Napoles’ affidavit.
“There was also no mention of it during the investigation,” Toribio said. Napoles’ affidavit was executed long after the plunder complaint was filed before the Ombudsman.
At that time, Napoles’ lawyer Stephen David stood up and said he invoked his client’s right to self-incrimination.
But Lagos said the court was not asking him.
In attendance for the pre-trial was Revilla, who looked cheerful in his pink polo as he talked to his lawyers before the session opened.
When his son Cavite Vice Governor Jolo Revilla arrived in the middle of the pre-trial, Revilla lightened up.
Jolo sat close behind his father. At times, Jolo leaned toward his father and talked to him, both smiling.
But when the Justice asked for Napoles’ affidavit, both Revillas stiffened.
They refused interviews after the hearing.
Meanwhile, Napoles’ lawyer David said he invoked his client’s right to self-incrimination because he does not want to add more evidence pinning Napoles on the scam.
“Sinabi niya ’dun sino binibigyan niya. Alangan naman na bigyan mo ng bala ang kalaban mo para mabaril ka (Napoles revealed in her affidavit those whom she gave money to. Why will we give our enemies bullets they can use to shoot us?),” David said after the hearing.
In her sworn affidavit, Napoles said she personally transacted with Revilla and his legislative officer Richard Cambe to deliver tens of millions of kickbacks from pork barrel fund projects.
Napoles even said she had dinner with Revilla and had personally delivered kickbacks to him. She also said they both call each other for updates on the kickbacks.
Napoles, however, said she is not the mastermind of the scam, training the guns instead on Budget Secretary Florencio Abad. She said she started transacting with pork barrel funds after she met Abad, then a congressman.
Revilla and Napoles face plunder and graft charges over the pork barrel scam, a multi-billion peso racket on lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) meant to ease rural poverty. PDAF was struck down by the Supreme Court at the height of the scandal. (MNS)