State witness bid bucked
Published : Wednesday, May 21, 2014 00:00
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EVEN the House Independent Minority bloc, led by Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, is not in favor of making alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles a state witness.
In a weekly press conference yesterday, Romualdez said the entire group expressed support for President Benigno Aquino’s decision to reject Napoles as a state witness.
Romualdez said Napoles, whose 10 non-government organizations (NGOs) became the recipient of some P10 billion worth of pork barrel funds from some senators and congressmen, is considered the most guilty and therefore does not deserve exoneration.
“We are in total agreement with the President that it was next to impossible for Napoles to say she’s not the most guilty in the scam since she was the link to all those allegedly involved in the scam,” Romualdez said.
Meanwhile, the independent bloc has appealed to the President to order a probe into the sudden appearance of so many lists which has further muddled the pork barrel scandal.
Romualdez said the different lists of supposed lawmakers who have received kickbacks have diverted attention the real pork barrel scam people and how they carried out the scheme.
“We hope the President will personally order a probe. With the President’s direct hand, we are certain that the culprits will be speedily identified,” the group added.
However, Abakada partylist Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz, member of the bloc, said that the more the Aquino government has tried to cover up for his allies, the more problems it got.
”The more you try to tinker with the information, the more you have problems,” De la Cruz pointed out.
Another member, Buhay partylist Rep. Lito Atienza slammed Justice Secretay Leila de Lima for not yet filing appropriate charges against the scammers.
Atienza said De Lima, as government prosecutor being the Justice secretary, should have filed charges against all the accused immediately after she had a five-hour meeting with Napoles at the Ospital ng Makati.
”We do not see any gains from delaying the filing of cases. We cannot understand why President Aquino is dilly-dallying in this issue,” he said.
Meanwhile, Romualdez challenged Napoles to come out now with the added names which her lawyer says will be included in her second affidavit.
”Instead of next week as her camp has threatened, we say do it now, today, as soon as possible,” Romualdez said.
”We find this latest pronouncement of the Napoles camp as nothing less than their continued attempt to blackmail people into helping her get what she wants – immunity from prosecution,” he added.