Napoles’s affidavit and Abad

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Friday, May 30, 2014


JANET Lim-Napoles’s affidavit and whistleblower Benhur Luy’s digital file circa 2013 are with the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. There’s actually nothing new in Luy’s file; the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) ran a fine toothcomb through it last year. And its content is voluminous. If the Senate wants to go over them again, then good luck!

It is Napoles’s affidavit that I find interesting. This is because I was among those who thought that it would be good if she turned state witness--but only if she is honest in her intentions. With her affidavit plus extensive sleuthing by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to check the truthfulness of her revelations, her true intention will be exposed.

Information that has come out in the Napoles affidavit seems to support the idea of further evaluating her revelations. The case of Rep. Gerald Gullas is an example. The listing of his name as among the lawmakers who pocketed a big chunk of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations was obviously an anomaly considering he is a newbie and didn’t get as yet any pork barrel share.

The admission of Napoles’s lawyer that the young Gullas’s inclusion in the list was an error showed that there is really a need for the cross-checking of evidence. The error was damaging even if it was merely because Napoles confused the younger Gullas with the older one, former congressman Eduardo Gullas.

I am actually tempted to use, like any lawyer fond of strutting their legal sharpness would, the Latin term falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus (false in one thing, false in everything). But I don’t think this principle applies here.

The Gullas case might just actually be an honest error and that a good chunk of the contents of Napoles’s affidavit could be true. Even then, the error should spark a thorough check on Napoles’s claims.

I think the most critical of the revelations in terms of exposing Napoles’s motivation is the one about Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad. It would be interesting to find out if other pieces of evidence can be had that would show that Abad transacted with Napoles.

Did he really mentor Napoles on the intricacies of the special allotment release order (Saro), thereby allowing the businesswoman to map out a modus to pilfer with the PDAF? Did he pocket his PDAF allocations?

Abad is among the key figures in the administration of President Noynoy Aquino, thus the opposition has time and again attempted to splash mud on him in the hope that he would either be forced to resign or drag the President down with him. They also failed time and again.

I have no problem with Napoles’s claims against Abad if this is true. But what if some personalities are using her to achieve their political intentions?

While Abad has the blood of politicians in his veins, being the son of a congressman, he was also associated in his younger years with the Federation of Free Workers. I am always partial for leaders who flirted with activism at a certain stage of their lives. Having a bit of idealism is better than having none of it at all.

I hope the DOJ will focus first on Napoles’s revelations on Abad to test the purity of her intentions. Abad has already issued his denial.

The DOJ will now have to do what it did with the cases involving Sens. Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla. It can, for example, check the route that Abad’s PDAF allocations followed when he was still congressman. Let us see if the ghosts of Napoles show up there.

(khanwens@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 31, 2014.

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