Lawyer: Napoles ready to tell all but not in Senate-A A +A
Thursday, October 24, 2013
(UPDATED) The legal counsel of Janet Lim-Napoles said Thursday that the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind is ready to spill the beans but not in the Senate.
Lawyer Lorna Kapunan said in a radio interview that the Senate Blue Ribbon committee is not the proper forum for her client to tell the truth.
"She will tell all -- at the Ombudsman or if elevated at the Sandiganbayan. This is what she wants. She is determined to speak the truth," Kapunan said.
Kapunan also said that Napoles is quite apprehensive in appearing before the Senate investigating body, citing that it can turn into a circus.
"Mismong si Ms. Napoles ang nagsabing ayaw niya talagang humarap at magsalita," the lawyer added.
"There will be accusation versus accusation, a confrontational situation which is not supposed to be. That is why she will invoke her right to be silent," she added.
Kapunan recalled the time Napoles surrendered herself to President Benigno Aquino III, she only asked two things; that her life be secured, and that she can have her day in court.
Meanwhile, Senator Teofisto Guingona III, the chairperson of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee investigating the pork barrel scam, confirmed that aside from Napoles, all the other whistleblowers led by Benhur Luy will also be invited in the hearing.
Guingona said this is the right time to hear both sides of the coin, adding the public should be given the opportunity to hear the truth.
Earlier, Senator Sergio Osmena III raised the possibility of giving Napoles immunity in order for her to speak the truth behind the scam.
Kapunan said the Senate immunity, which was raised by Osmena, is possible but said that only the court can grant such privilege to Napoles.
"Tama po si Senator Osmena na pwedeng bigyan si Napoles ng immunity but this will not come from the Senate. The Senate is only a legislative body and their job is to craft laws. Only the court has the right to decide," Kapunan said.
She also agreed with Osmena that those legislators who abused their priority development assistance fund (PDAF) are the most guilty.
"Because these are public funds and they are public officials who have sworn their duty to serve the public," Kapunan said.
She also admitted that PDAF has been used and abused by public officials and this, she said, is the sad truth about this issue.
In an interview, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano said the focus of the investigation must not only include Napoles and the whistleblowers but those lawmakers who have been tagged as part of the PDAF scam.
"As far as the whistleblowers are concerned at si Janet Napoles, magkakaroon ng grand reunion. Pero sa tingin ko, hindi makukumpleto ang cast kung ang mga Senador na tintutukoy nila ay hindi mag-aattend," Cayetano said.
Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Bong Revilla, who allegedly benefited from the Napoles multi-billion peso scheme, were charged with plunder before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Cayetano was also quick to say that those senators being implicated cannot be force to attend the hearing as part of their immunity as legislators.
He lauded the move of Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto who confronted the Commission on Audit (COA) after his name was dragged on the issue of alleged misuse of PDAF.
"Pero pwede pa namang magbago 'yun so depende na lang po 'yun. So kung ako ang tatanungin, kunwari kay Senator Recto, na binanggit siya sa COA report, at nandun sya sa hearing, nasagot niya ito at ang COA pa ang nagsabi na clear na siya sa isyu," Cayetano said.
To recall, Cayetano and Estrada had a confrontation during a caucus.
Estrada reportedly was irked with Cayetano's statement asking them to come out and explain their alleged transactions with Napoles.
Cayetano clarified that there is no malice in his statement. He said it was just a suggestion so they can defend themselves on the issue of PDAF. (Jun Sarmiento/Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)