Drilon rejects deal with Napoles
MANILA – Senate President Franklin Drilon said it is unacceptable at this point to cut any deal with Janet Lim Napoles even if she gives information on the lawmakers allegedly involved in the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
Drilon said cutting deals with Napoles, , who surrendered to President Aquino Wednesday night, will be "morally unacceptable" to the Senate and the public.
Interior and Local Government Sec. Mar Roxas said the government is not ruling out the possibility of Napoles becoming a state witness in the looming case, but Drilon said she is not qualified to become one.
“Becoming state witness has certain standards. Number one, you must be the least guilty. Number two, the testimony must be necessary to convict the most guilty. I don’t think she will fit those requirements. She stands trial on this and whatever evidence against her would have to be considered by the court,” he told ANC’s “Prime Time” on Thursday.
If Napoles becomes a state witness, she may be granted immunity and placed on the Department of Justice’s Witness Protection Program.
She surrendered to the President and was escorted to Camp Crame where she was turned over to police.
The circumstances of her surrender drew flak from the public because some felt she was being given “special treatment.”
But Drilon defended the President’s actions, saying he would have also been criticized if he did not accept the offer of Napoles' camp to turn in.
“The President has been criticized, ‘Why did he have to receive Napoles?’ First, it was a question of Napoles saying I fear for my life. At that point, the President made a judgment call. ‘Should I accept this offer or should I not?’ If he did not accept the offer to surrender to him, Napoles will still be out there and what do you think the critics will say? ‘Why did you not accept the offer to surrender?’” he said.
The sequence of events also raised eyebrows because Justice Secretary Leila de Lima herself was kept out of the loop.
Drilon, a former justice secretary, said it may “cause some embarrassment” for de Lima, but he stressed that it will have no effect on the ongoing investigation and wasn't intended to undermine de Lima’s integrity.
“I don’t think it will cause any prejudice, maybe it can create some political issue but as a lawyer, does it affect the case? No. Does it affect her investigation? No,” said Drilon.
“It may be a cause for some embarrassment but as a strict legal proposition, it does not affect the case,” he added.
Napoles is temporarily detained in Camp Crame and is set to be transferred to the Makati City Jail.