By Raynan F. Javil

Napoles seeks exclusion of affidavits as Revilla’s plunder trial begins

Posted on June 22, 2017

JANET Lim-Napoles, the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind, has asked the Sandiganbayan to exclude her 2014 affidavits and a Senate witness from being presented during the plunder trial of former Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. scheduled to start today.

Alleged pork barrel-scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles at the graft court during her arraignment on June 30, 2014. -- AFP
Ms. Napoles said that her “alleged” affidavit dated 12 May 2014 and Sinumpaang Salaysay dated 26 May 2014 cannot be used against her since those were executed in view of her intention to be admitted to the Witness Protection Program (WPP).

Ms. Napoles invoked Section 11 of Republic Act (RA) 6891 or the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act. “RA 6891 is explicit, that if a person who applied in the Witness Protection Program was later on denied of his application in the program, any sworn statement or other testimony he executed in such application shall not be admissible,” the motion read.

Ms. Napoles’s application for WPP was never accepted and her application for state witness was denied. “(This) being the case, any sworn statement or other testimony executed by the accused in view of such application shall not be admitted in any proceeding.”

She also said that presenting the alleged affidavits during the trial would violate her right against self-incrimination.

The said affidavits were submitted to then Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila M. de Lima for her WPP application. However, the Senate subpoenaed Ms. de Lima to submit the affidavits to the blue-ribbon committee, at that time probing the pork barrel scam.

Citing Section 7 of RA 6891, Ms. Napoles said that information or documents submitted should have been “confidential in nature,” noting that the affidavits were given “only” to the Justice department, particularly to Ms. de Lima.

She added that the authenticity of the said affidavit and sworn statement which did not come from the Justice department was “doubtful.”

Ms. Napoles also moved to block the presentation by the prosecution of the Senate custodian to prove the existence of the alleged affidavits.

“[I]n the interest of justice and to uphold the rule of law, it is most respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court to exclude the Prosecution’s Senate witness and the presentation of alleged Janet Lim Napoles’ affidavit 12 May 2014 and Sinumpaang Salaysay dated 26 May 2014, respectively,” the motion read.

Mr. Revilla’s plunder trial, in which Ms. Napoles stands as co-accused, is scheduled to start today,more than three years since he surrendered to authorities after the Ombudsman filed a plunder case against them.

The case stemmed from the alleged misuse of Mr. Revilla’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) as senator by funneling the money to bogus NGOs in exchange for kickbacks. He allegedly gained P224.5 million from the illegal scheme from 2004 to 2010.

Mr. Revilla in 2014 was one of three senators charged with plunder, the others being then senators Jose “Jinggoy” E. Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile.