Napoles as state witness?

ON DISTANT SHORE
By Val G. Abelgas

In this November 2013 photo, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima exchanges a few words with alleged "pork barrel" scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles during the Senate panel hearing. Senate PRIB

In this November 2013 photo, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima exchanges a few words with alleged “pork barrel” scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles during the Senate panel hearing. Senate PRIB

Please say it ain’t so, Secretary De Lima.

If the Aquino administration is really serious in going after the corrupt in Philippine society and in eliminating graft and corruption in the country, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has to assure the Filipino people that the government would prosecute all those who were involved in the greatest public heist ever in the country, with at least P10 billion in people’s money going to the pockets of corrupt politicians and crooked businessmen.

In reaction to reports that Gigi Reyes, former chief of staff of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and one of the main accused in the plunder case filed by the Office of the Ombudsman involving the P10-billion pork barrel scam, may have returned to the Philippines to turn state witness, De Lima said she would prefer Janet Lim Napoles, the principal suspect in the fund mess, as state witness over Reyes.

De Lima said that if Reyes turns state witness, she could only help the government pin down her former boss, Enrile. Reyes’ disclosure would only be a “bonus,” she added. On the other hand, she added, if Napoles talks and becomes a state witness, the government would be able to identify all those involved in the multi-billion peso government fund scam.

What logic! It’s like asking gang boss Al Capone to testify as state witness to bring all the politicians and policemen under his payroll to jail. It seems that De Lima would rather let go of the big fish, the alleged mastermind in the P10-billion pork barrel scam and the P900-million Malampaya fund mess, to go scot free as long as she is able to jail the three senators who have been pains in Aquino’s neck.

This is the second time De Lima hinted that Napoles could become a state witness. In August last year, De Lima said she would not rule out tapping Napoles as a state witness to go after bigger fish such as lawmakers who channeled public funds to her ghost projects. De Lima did not rule out the possibility, even though the law requires a state witness to be “not the most guilty of the crime charged.”

Of course, Enrile, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada and Sen. Bong Revilla are big fishes and could be as guilty as Napoles in the shameless scheme. But Napoles, being the alleged mastermind and the biggest beneficiary of the fraud, is the biggest fish of all because she was reportedly involved in all transactions dating to the time of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

In the last several months, the idea of making Napoles state witness has been floated around, not just by De Lima, but by other Aquino allies, including Sen. Serg Osmena and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.

When Napoles refused to talk before Senate probers, Osmena said the Senate may be willing to grant her immunity, meaning she could not be prosecuted for whatever she may say during the investigation, just to entice her to reveal her conspirators. Of course, the senators thought twice and refused to give her immunity.
Just after the suspicious surrender of Napoles to Aquino in Malacanang, Roxas said the government remained open to the idea of making Napoles a state witness. He said the avenue remained open if Napoles had “contribution to information and evidence.”

Of course, she has! After all, according to more than 10 whistleblowers that previously worked for her, she was the mastermind of the pork barrel scam and that she even bragged that as long as there’s government, there was money to be made!

But by all accounts, the 10 or so whistleblowers have made or submitted all testimonial and documentary evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Napoles, several congressmen and senators, and several bureaucrats conspired to rob the people of more than P10 billion in government funds through an elaborate scam that involved huge kickbacks, ghost projects, fake or fraudulent NGOs, forgery, and bribery.

What can Napoles contribute that his former workers and close confidantes, who handled all the transactions, handed over cash, and forged several signatures, do not already know or have documentary proofs of?

As the alleged mastermind and biggest beneficiary, Napoles could be considered among the worst abusers of the system and justice requires that she be treated as defendant, not as state witness.

Letting the biggest fish off the hook to get at his worst critics is wrong, and smacks of selective justice! Making Napoles state witness and allowing her to go scot free would render credible allegations that Malacanang is as guilty as the other accused, and that the supposed surrender of Napoles to Aquino was scripted.

All that took part in that shameless scam should all go to jail, whether they are senators, congressmen, small and big bureaucrats, big or small contractors, and whether they are friendly to or critical of the administration.
Only the original whistleblowers, like Benhur Luy, who had direct knowledge of the illegal transactions and the conspirators of their former boss, should be given immunity from prosecution as state witnesses. I would presume that the numerous and credible testimonies that they made before the media, Senate probers and NBI investigators and the boxes of documentary evidence that they have turned over to the NBI should be more than enough to prove beyond reasonable doubt the crime of plunder committed by the accused.

Let the trial begin!

(valabelgas@aol.com)


18 Responses. Have your say.

  1. Romeo M. Monteyro says:

    Yes, why go down in flames alone? They were all thieves and they should all burn together. Napoles is clutching at straws at this time. But she is as guilty as all those bastards she once did business with, and turning state witness should not really make her get away clean! She should do time as well, if only a few years less!

  2. pat talens says:

    I beg to disagree with the writer in his analysis that Napoles must remain a defendant, and be not allowed as state witness.

    The Filipinos must take note this scandal is much wider in scope and much larger in political and social dimensions than prosecuting the alleged mastermind Napoles. Solving this scandal is tantamount to solving to a larger extent the unimaginable corruptions in all institutions of government. Providing immunity to mastermind Napoles is worth, in manifold ways, when her testimony will result in jailing and putting away for good all these corrupt politicians and leaders in government—the paramount reasons why the Philippines is recognized one of the most corrupt countries in the world, and why the land is in the abyss of poverty, unemployment, and most its people are hungry and are sorting to myriad of criminalities.

    It is the wisdom and the irony of the time that exploiting and using the mastermind Napoles will be instrumental in solving the Philippines’ largest corruption scandal of all time—that even political hoodlums way back in the Arroyo government will be hunted and punished.

    • Don Azarias says:

      Pat,

      You also have to bear in mind that the high-priced defense lawyers for those senators will do their best to marginalize and demonize Napoles.

      Aren’t you outraged by Napoles’arrogance and defiance from the very start? She even said, at one time, that her family ‘owns’ the government and you know what she meant by that.

      Aren’t you also appalled at Napoles’ daughter’s ‘selfie’ in the bathtub with those paper currencies scattered all over her body? She even showed and told the world the number of cars and houses they own.

      I do believe that the Philippine government has enough evidence to convict those crooks without asking Napoles to be a state witness.

      I agree with Romy Monteyro that Napoles, like those corrupt senators, should serve time in jail. She should be given the maximum prison term.

      Don Azarias

      • flor liza says:

        Definitely Napoles should serve jail as much as those who have been guilty…..Why should she be free…. why suddenly they are now wanting her to be a state witness…. could it be because they now have been able to figure out a way to get the administration believable…. the length of time that she has been in jail was more than enough to paint a better picture for the administration….. who knows this could also be a continuation of the meeting with Pnoy when she surrendered…. come on people….. which part can you not understand?

        • Bobby Bagos says:

          Come on folks, Napoles can’t be the biggest fish in the pond, no one is suggesting that she should go scat free for becoming a state witness and

          No one is suggesting that Napoles should go scat free or not suffer any consequences for her crime, but if her testimonies can put away all those rotten politicians involved in these scam it will be worth it, don’t you think so? For starters, the government can take away all the ill-gotten wealth that this woman had taken from the Filipino people, I mean everything, including all the garapatas that are living on all her pets. I think being penniless for the rest of their lives will be even worst than being in prison. Of course she can’t be the biggest fish in the pond of the pork barrel scam and Senator Santiago’s inkling that some old crook is behind all these couldn’t be more accurate.

    • pat talens says:

      Never I thought of slightest sympathy upon Napoles—recognizing the magnitude of plunder and crime and the betrayal of the people. But to consider her as a state witness, and exploit her along with known whistleblowers, will speed up the machines of justice in a very big way. Giving her immunity is the best of difficult choices and is the winning game of enormous benefits to the country. The is the most welcome “quid pro quo” to cleanse the country of government corruptions—and to elevate the country’s image, even a bit, among the community of nations.

      It is my optimism that with her being a state witness, the Philippines will create a worse off-style Guantanamo style prison/detention in the middle of the ocean to house such many hoodlums.

      • Bobby Bagos says:

        Why not give her limited immunity, take away all their ill gotten wealth and just make the rest of their lives miserable. If her testimonies will put a hangman’s noose on everyone involved, especially those three greedy senators, why not do it.

        • pat talens says:

          Limited or absolute immunity, the DOJ should now be engaged in this chessgame with the mastermind. Very glad we jibe thoughts, Bobby.

          In the grand scheme of things, resolution of this no insignificant case is indeed much much larger than bringing Napoles to justice. This is about the Philippines—cleansing it with corruptions, creating aura of justice and hope to the people long betrayed.

          Also, this reminds me of the United States when after World War II, it allowed German scientists entry into the US to become assets in the military establishment and in rockets/space explorations, instead of bringing them to trials for suspected war crimes.

      • Bobby Bagos says:

        Hey Pat, once these politicians all get convicted, they should just let them loose in the area where they captured Lolong. I’m sure some of Lolong’s relatives are still around and these politicians will be a good appetizer. Greedy politicians being eaten by greedy crocodiles, that would really be news.

  3. Rev. Msgr. Florio R. Falcon says:

    If the law negates Janet Napoles qualifying to be state witness, why force the issue?

    Those who insist to make Ms Napoles to be state witness,to whom are they loyal?

  4. roy says:

    Philippine padrino justice system is mired in corruption. To whom you know and “sukaran” style makes you wonder why after a few months or years the case is getting cold. Remember Jocjoc Bulante case?

  5. Bobby Bagos says:

    Our justice system is so good in getting things started and then in the end what do they really accomplish, not a god damn thing. What is going on with the Ampatuan case, how about the case against the Arroyos, those thieving generals and many other high profile cases? These crooks in the government along with their cohorts are well aware of how cheap and inefficient our justice system really is. Their lawyers are going to drag their clients cases really slow, come up with so many damn excuses that in the end none of these crooks will ever see the inside of a prison cell. Enrile and company are not going anywhere, Jinggoy’s going to enjoy his new mansion, Panday will continue to make movies and our country will stay on the list of the most corrupt country in the world. There’s still hope for our country but I doubt that any of us will be around to witness it.

  6. Mac Flores, Jr. says:

    Sec De Lima favored Ms Napoles to be a state witness because the latter is the mastermind in the scam. Sen Miriam singled out Sen Enrile as the mastermind of the same scam.

    Inasmuch as both Enrile and Napoles are alleged masterminds involved in the same alleged crimes, the two should qualify as state witness, if we follow the logic of Sec De Lima.

    By that reverse logic, Benhur Luy et al who appear as the least guilty do not deserve to be state witness.

    Therefore, jail now Benhur et al the least guilty, and treat the masterminds with protection and accord them with privileges as state witness.

    But the people who follow this ‘corruption drama’ should not forget that behind Napoles are the alleged financiers who possibly financially supported her in having the money available to the politicians pending the release of funds by the government.

    I agree with Val, there is nothing much to know from the ‘players’ of the scam,…except probably the alleged financiers kept hidden from the investigation.

    Nice try VAL!

    • Bobby Bagos says:

      Let’s give the whistleblowers a lot of credit for bringing these whole thing out in the open. If it wasn’t for them the whole country will still be in the dark and these greedy politicians will continue to rip the people off of what could make their lives a little bit better. Napoles could’nt have done these whole thing on her own, her husband has to be in on these scams so why isn’t he in custody? What about their children who didn’t seem to have any problem flaunting the riches they’ve stolen from the Filipino people? Make her a state witness, give her full immunity if that’s what it takes to bring these crooked politicians to justice, full immunity doesn’t mean she will not suffer any consequences, the government should take away all the money they’ve stolen from the government, including all the properties they’ve accumulated. If she can blow the lid and help put away some of the rotten to the core politicians for a long time then so be it. I think it would be worth it, but then again would our justice system be good enough to hang these people. That part is still a little cloudy in my opinion.

      • pat talens says:

        Mac and Bobby, Enrile being floated as another mastermind? He was then a turncoat against his foremost benefactor, the late Ferdinand Marcos. That he is that old and soon be gone, I only cross my fingers he’ll cross isle and become a state witness as well. This is to salvage his becoming much tainted legacy, to prepare his soul in judgment, and to achieve rebirth upon himself on behalf of the country—the land that bestowed upon him fame and glory and material blessings, and enviable position of leadership in the country’s corridor of political and military power, on a man during his beginning life was nobody and a so-called poor bastard.
        May he find reflections and not to die selfish but to payback his country—by telling all, and getting all political hoodlums to the machineries of justice.

        Yes, Napoles and Enrile in collaborative efforts most welcome to the country—in very substantive and historic quid pro quo. What then a great irony in Philippine politics and history.

        • Mac Flores, Jr. says:

          Pat, Bobby and others, I’m sorry if I may’ve led you to believe that I’m in favor of making the mastermind of the scam to qualify as state witness.

          Allow me to correct myself if my prior comments are conflicting.

          I do not support Sec. De Lima’s interest in having Ms. Napoles, an alleged scam mastermind, to be a state witness in the absence of such law.

          In her desire to extract truthful confession from Ms. Napoles, Sec De Lima even said that there is no guarantee that the accused is being assured by the authority to be considered as a state witness.

          If Ms. Napoles is sincere in her prayers to God for her successful surgery, she must also pray to God for enlightenment in helping her reform for good by telling the truth, unconditionally.

          She must serve justice for breaking the moral fibers of so many people who became poor in spirit and aggravated further the poverty in the PHL.

          To me, pardon without justice is injustice.

          Therefore, I support Mr. Abelgas opinion.

          • pat talens says:

            Mac, I respect your opinion. But I shall only reiterate—this case is much much larger than pursuing judgement against Napoles, it is curing the widespread malignant, destructive cancer of corruptions (being perpetrated by leaders in the 3 institutions of government) that cause ill and sins to the country and people. Also, my rationale is synonymous to a winning investment paradigm—Loss a dollar, but get it back in ways more than thousands-fold.

          • Bobby Bagos says:

            Mac, I think most of us are in agreement that this woman need to be behind bars, hopefully for the rest of her life. De Lima need her testimonies badly, I’m sure you’ll agree that Napoles can’t be the biggest fish in the pond, someone with tremendous amount of political power must be covering her back for her to be so bold and confident that they can continue to rip the Filipino people off of what is rightfully theirs. Her pointing the fingers may just be the catalyst that our country need to finally rid our government of some the filth that is causing our country to fail continuously.

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *