Escudero: Don't fall for Napoles' trap

Posted at 05/16/2014 11:47 AM | Updated as of 05/16/2014 8:02 PM

MANILA - Sen. Francis Escudero on Friday said the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee should continue its probe into the pork barrel scam and not fall into what he believes is a trap set up Janet Lim Napoles.

Escudero said stopping the inquiry would be tantamount to letting Napoles get what she wants.

He suspects Napoles released her list to three different people precisely to destroy the credibility of the Senate.

"The problem now is Secretary Ping (Lacson) is talking, Attorney (Levito) Baligod is talking, Secretary (Leila) de Lima is talking - all quoting Napoles. Let Napoles speak and state her accusations against us, hindi yung ginagamit niya at sumasakay siya sa kredibilidad ng tatlong taong ito kasama si Miss Sandra Cam at parang sila ang nag-aakusa," he said.

Escudero also urged Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to submit Napoles' affidavit in its original form and stop vetting it. He said the justice chief should not allow herself to be used by Napoles.

"It is not for the [Department of Justice] to verify, validate it. What if they find out it's not true? Can they go back to Napoles? If Napoles included lies, let it stand. Let the other accused use that to hit her credibility," he said.

Meanwhile, Escudero refused to dignify the allegation made by Baligod that he could have received P500,000 from Napoles. The senator said Baligod's statement is hearsay since it comes from one of the whistle-blowers.

He admitted he met Napoles once at a social occasion but the businesswoman did not make any offer.

He added he couldn't have given his pork barrel allocations to Napoles foundation because he didn't receive his priority development assistance funds under the Arroyo administration.

He said he started receiving his PDAF in 2010 after President Arroyo's term expired. He said he allocated his PDAF to hospital assistance and repair of public markets.

Escudero also questioned why his name was included in the Napoles list when it was not included in the digital records of pork scam whistle-blower Benhur Luy. He noted that Luy recorded even small disbursements in his files but no mention was made of a P500,000 payment to Escudero.