Analysis by Raïssa Robles
The self-confessed Queen of Pork Scam, Janet Lim Napoles, has offered to turn state witness. An unsigned affidavit, purportedly coming from her, has been leaked to media. It names congressmen and senators who got kickbacks through her from their pork barrel funds.
UPDATE: You can read the unsigned affidavit by clicking here.
Will this “Napolist” – a word my hubby Alan coined and posted on Twitter – trigger political unrest or risk to the Aquino government, a senior banker asked me. I turned the question over in my mind and came up with five reasons not to believe the statements of Pork Queen Napoles. Just yet.
ONE – Napoles now claims she wants to “tell all.”
She now admits she was at the center of the pork scam If this is true, then Napoles lied under oath before the Senate last November 7, 2013. She also lied to the Philippine Daily Inquirer editors, columnists and reporters when she met with them on August 8, 2013.
And Napoles’ lawyer then, Lorna Kapunan, also lied for her client when Kapunan issued a “media statement” dated July 26, 2013.
There is a big difference between a witness who issues denials and a witness who remains silent during questioning or claims amnesia.
Napoles’ total reversal of her previous denials will undermine her value as a state witness.
Consider the following. When Napoles talked to the PDI, she gave a blanket or TOTAL denial of her involvement in the pork scam. She was pointedly questioned by PDI columnist Randolf David on the matter and Napoles answered him this way:
David: So, sino pong mga senador ang hinandle ninyo ang PDAF (pork)?
Napoles: Ay, wala po.
David: Wala po? Wala ring kongresista na-link sa mga…
Napoles: Wala po.
David: Wala rin kayong NGOs (non-government organizations)?
Napoles: Meron po.
David: Ilan ho ang NGOs ninyo?
Napoles: Magdalena Luy-Lim Foundation. [To photographer Edwin Bacasmas] Kuya, bibigyan kita ng picture. ’Wag mo na akong picturan. Pangit ako ngayon, stressed. [Laughs] Sige na please, ’di ba? Please naman. Magdalena Luy-Lim Foundation po.
David: ’Yun lamang po ang foundation ninyo?
Napoles: Oo. Tumutulong po kami sa Tawid-Gutom, ’yung lugaw sa Quiapo, sa mommy ko po ’yan. Nung namatay siya, sinabi po ni Cardinal sa kanya na tumulong ng Catholic sa China. Nagpatayo po kami ng simbahan dun. ’Yung mga kaparian dun na nakatira sa amin, ’yun ho ’yung foundation na ginagamit… Meron po kaming foundation.
David: So itong 18 NGOs…?
Napoles: Hindi, 20 plus something, mga 30 plus na ho… Wala kaming kinalaman dun.
David: Wala kayong kinalaman dun?
Napoles: May witness na po. Lahat ng ginamit nila, nakunan na po ng statement.
Napoles repeated her blanket denial when she testified under oath before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on November 7, 2013.
When Blue Ribbon Committee chair TG Guingona asked her to confirm whistle blower Benhur Luy’s statement that he had set up fake non-government organizations upon her orders, Napoles replied – “Hindi po.”
Napoles also kept denying the existence of fake NGOs and even told Guingona: “Nakakaawa po ‘yung mga senador na na-drag ‘yung mga pangalan.” When Napoles was asked by Senator Francis Escudero whether her statement to various media outlets was true that she had only found out about the pork barrel scam from media reports and she was not personally aware of it, Napoles replied: “Opo.”
Napoles was also asked by Senator Guingona whether she was aware she was risking perjury if she was lying under oath. Napoles replied, “Opo.”
After those series of nonstop denials in the face of evidence, suddenly she turns around and wants to admit — what? And she’s dragging even more names through the muck? What happened to her “awa”?
TWO – Napoles’ lawer then, Lorna Kapunan – whom we can all presume is a very bright person – also issued a blanket denial on behalf of Napoles
Kapunan sent the following “Media Statement” dated July 26, 2013 to various media outlets. On page three is a fact sheet that starts with this statement from Kapunan:
“There is no truth to the claim that Ms. Janet Lim Napoles was involved in the alleged diversion of the Priority Development Assistance Fund to supposed ghost foundations.”
Now, if Napoles is to believed, even Atty. Kapunan was lying for her. Here is the entire Media Statement that Kapunan had issued then. Please read page three:
THREE – Even a bishop and some priests lied for Napoles, it seems
Sometime in December 2012, Napoles and her brother had Benhur Luy stay with priests reportedly to give him time for spiritual reflection. But months later, Luy’s mother asked the Department of Justice to “rescue” Luy saying he was illegally detained so he would not spill the beans on the pork scam and other scams Napoles was involved in.
Luy was “rescued” by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation and he disclosed a lot on the pork scam.
How does Napoles now explain her falling out with Luy and Luy’s detention with the priests?
Won’t the Monsignor and the priests look like fools with her total reversal?
If Napoles is now on the same page as Luy, why hasn’t she dropped her “qualified theft” case against Luy?
FOUR – Napoles wants it all
Napoles said she wants to turn state witness. And yet today, instead of making an act of contrition, she asked the court to unfreeze all her bank assets.
The Napolist that has been leaked to the media contains the size of kickbacks each senator and congressman supposedly got from Napoles. But the leaked Napolist does not detail the amount of kickbacks Napoles herself got from all those transactions.
Napoles would be more believable if her signed affidavit offering to be state witness revealed the following:
- A detailed listing of all her kickbacks
- All her bank accounts in the Philippines and overseas plus signed waivers, including any unit investment trusts and corporate stocks
- All her companies in the Philippines and overseas plus signed waivers
- The mobile phone numbers of the government officials she dealt with, as well as the text messages to and from her, plus all e-mail correspondences with them and their staff
FIVE – The timing of Napoles’ offer is suspect
Napoles made her offer to turn state witness a month after Ombudswoman Conchita Carpio-Morales filed three separate very detailed indictments against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla et al.
The “et al” included not only Napoles but also her son James Christopher, her daughter Jo Christine and her brother Ronald in all three separate cases. If found guilty, Napoles’ children could end up staying in jail for most of their productive years. Will charges also be dropped against all of them if Napoles turns state witness?
This shows that the stakes are indeed very high for Napoles. She will do anything to save her children, including lie. Or tell the truth. Or a mixture of both.
In this case, it is the government holding the good cards, not Napoles, who seems to have done nothing except lie and lie.