MANILA Administration and minority congressmen on Thursday gave mixed reactions on the proposal to make Janet Lim Napoles as state witness who was earlier tagged as the architect of P10 billion scam.
That is welcome news. Hopefully this will lead to the uncovering of more evidence and information on the fake NGOs ghost project PDAF scam, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said in a text message to House reporters.
Marikina Rep. Romero Quimbo, chairperson of the House Ways and Means Committee, said that Napoles surrender to the president shows how eager President Aquino is in finding out the truth in the pork barrel scam.
He is willing to get out of his way so that justice can be served because the issue is far too bigger than presidential protocol or tradition, Quimbo said.
Ako Bicol party list Rep. Rodel Batocabe wished that the surrender would not pacify the people and the signal the start of the investigation.
Reps. Mel Senen Sarmiento of Western Samar and Jorge Banal of Quezon City shared the view that the surrender of Napoles would shed light on the controversy involving the pork barrel.
For Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, Napoles could become state witness.
If she would disclose everything, it would be easier on the part of the government to discover the truth and have sufficient evidence for the conviction of the politicians involved, Barzaga said.
Barzaga explained that his position could have far reaching consequences including the conviction of high officials in government and that part of the deal would include the voluntary surrender of all her assets to the government.
Former congressman and now Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman said that Napoles surrender could give way to justice through a thorough and impartial investigation that would punish the guilty and spare the innocent.
ACT Teacher party list Rep. Antonio Tinio said Napoles should face plunder charges for her involvement in the pork barrel scam.
We are not going to allow that she be made as state witness. She should be charged with plunder as the principal in the pork barrel scam, Tinio said.
He claimed that government should file plunder charges against her as soon as possible to send strong message to anyone.
Three other lawmakers including Reps. Fredenil Castro of Capiz, Luz Ilagan of Gabriela and Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna air almost similar views.
According to Castro, a lawyer, Napoles could not pass for a state witness because she acted in conspiracy with the other suspects.
She cannot be a state witness because she acted in conspiracy with the other suspects. She is equally guilty with the rest, Castro said in a text message.
Colmenares said that the proposal of turning Napoles as state witness should be carefully studied as he admits that he is open to the proposal.
Is her testimony necessary? Is she willing to cooperate? Is she not the most guilty? Colmenares said stressing that requirements have to be fulfilled before making any move.
According to Colmenares Napoles has to prove that there are others who are of graver culpability than her by testifying against the big fish not just in Congress but in the Executive Branch as well. He however, expressed doubts that Napoles testimony would still be necessary given the testimony of other witnesses like Benhur Luy.
For her part, Ilagan said that state witnesses are usually the least guilty in a group charged by the court. She said that Napoles surrender to President Aquino is an indication that she has connections with the Palace. (PNA)