Aquino: First ‘pork’ case vs Napoles to be filed by Friday-A A +A
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
(UPDATED) President Benigno Aquino III bared Tuesday that the government could finally file its first case on Friday in relation to alleged misuse of multi-billion peso pork barrel funds against Janet Napoles.
Aquino, in an interview after keynoting the 7th Asean Navy Chiefs Meeting in Makati City, said the government has strong evidence against Napoles, the scam’s alleged mastermind.
"The first charges with regards to this issue, I understand, will be filed not later than Monday. There is a possibility it can be filed by Friday," he said.
Within this week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) will brief Aquino on the theory, evidence and analyses and possible defenses for the case.
"So a complete briefing sometime this week; and the commitment is not later than Monday next week and possibly by Friday this week (the case will be filed against Napoles)," he said.
The President refused to say if other people would also be charged apart from Napoles.
"I cannot say categorically at this point in time because maybe we will be talking less and less because we will be filing more and more cases about this particular issue," he said.
Levito Baligod, lawyer for some whistleblowers including Benhur Luy, went to the DOJ on Tuesday for the third review of documentary evidence. This has to be done, he said, since the evidence contains numerical data and matrices of transactions of fake non-government organizations (NGOs) with some lawmakers.
Not less than five lawmakers and government officials will be implicated in the affidavits of the whistleblowers, according to Baligod. The documents will be turned over soon to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), which will file the case with the Office of the Ombudsman.
Meanwhile, the President denied of personally knowing Napoles when he was still a lawmaker.
"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 referring to the time when Napoles surrendered to him in Malacanang late last month after two weeks in hiding.
Aquino said that he was usually good in remembering faces, but poor with names.
But in the case of Napoles, he said that she did not look familiar to him.
"In fact, I'll be very honest with you, compared on the pictures that I've seen on the newspapers and when I personally saw her, something cropped up in my mind for a little while, 'Is this really whom we're looking for?'" he said.
He added that Napoles could not be interested to deal with him when he was still a lawmaker because he did not receive his priority development assistance fund since 2005 when he was still a congressman of Tarlac.
"But even having said that, 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," he said.
Senate President Franklin Drilon also denied having deals with Napoles after pictures showed he was with the businesswoman in social functions.
He said he and his wife Mila were invited to an event attended by church workers and seminarians from China who were in the country for a study tour. Drilon called his wife an “active church worker.”
"I did not know the business of Ms. Napoles when all of these were happening. This is the situation. As I said, there is a clear effort to implicate me and make me appear as guilty by association. I reject such implication,” said Drilon.
The Senate President said he will not speculate on who leaked the photos to media. Drilon is not one of the five senators who allegedly channeled their PDAF to Napoles-linked NGOs.
“I don't recall how she (Napoles) was introduced to me. I am introduced to hundreds of people in social gatherings,” he said.
Napoles has been detained in Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna in relation to the serious illegal detention case filed by Luy, her distant relative and former personal assistant. (SDR/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)