MANILA (Mabuhay) — Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles may do more harm than good to the government’s case against officials implicated in the supposed multibillion-peso anomaly.
The lawyer of Benhur Luy, principal pork barrel scam whistleblower, gave this warning on Wednesday following Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s announcement that Napoles is ready to tell all in connection with the supposed anomaly.
“Kahit hindi naman sya mag-state witness, may issue pa rin kahit na ordinary witness sya. May agam-agam kami. Kung magwi-witness lang din siya at uulitin niya yung mga sinabi, o kokontrahin niya ang mga sinabi sa records, magkakaproblema kami,” lawyer Raji Mendoza, Luy’s counsel, said.
Mendoza added that the whistleblowers are wary about the possibility of Napoles muddling their testimonies by claiming that she is not the mastermind of the alleged pork barrel scam.
“Mamaya pumasok siya tapos guluhin niya. Kapag magsabi sya ng bago, pero sabihin niya: Ang utak talaga niyan, let’s say si Benhur. Sya ang marunong sa negosyo. Yung mga kamag-anak ko, sila ang nagpapatakbo niyan. Ako lang nagpi-finance,” Mendoza said.
He went on to say that it would be “dangerous” for Napoles to become a witness “with respect to things that have already been taken up.”
“Kung may ituturo syang bagong kasabwat na hindi kasama, baka question mark pa rin,” Mendoza said.
De Lima, at a press briefing Tuesday, said Napoles corroborated the whistleblowers’ testimonies on the alleged involvement of Senators Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile in the supposed anomaly.
De Lima also said that Napoles offered herself as a state witness and vowed to “come clean” about the alleged anomaly.
But Mendoza said Napoles’ integrity as a witness may be questioned if she testifies for the prosecution, since she already denied before a Senate investigation her involvement in the alleged anomaly.
“’Yung pagpunta niya sa Senado, tandaan po natin na under oath po ang testimony niya doon. Sabi niya noon, di niya maalala, hindi niya alam, invoking her right against self-incrimination. Vulnerable siya against being impeached,” the lawyer said.
Last November, Napoles appeared before the Senate blue ribbon committee where she denied ordering Luy and other whistleblowers to form foundations to be used for the alleged anomaly. She also denied receiving kickbacks from the supposed scam.
Mendoza added that Luy is confused about Napoles’ decision to turn state witness—the reason why their camp is seeking a meeting with De Lima.
“Naguguluhan siya (Luy). Hindi niya masyado ma-grasp ang legal intricacies. Ini-explain namin sa kanya pero sabi niya, he’s also waiting for an audience with the Secretary of Justice,” Mendoza said.
Lawyer Lourdes Benipayo, counsel for two other whistleblowers in the alleged scam, also questioned Napoles’ motive in deciding to come clean.
“Bakit ngayon lang sya magsasabi ng katotohanan? Ang haba na ng tinahak ng kaso na ito. Who would be in a better position to say if the statements of Mrs. Napoles are true kung hindi ang mga taong nakakaalam kung ano ang tunay na katotohanan,” Benipayo said in a separate phone interview aired over “News To Go.”
Last April 1, the Ombudsman recommended plunder charges against Napoles, Estrada, Revilla and Enrile for allegedly pocketing millions in their pork barrel funds through a scam supposedly engineered by Napoles.
The three senators have repeatedly denied receiving kickbacks from the alleged scam. (MNS)