Enrile says better for Napoles not to testify
MANILA - After being mostly silent on the pork barrel scam, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile has finally spoken up about the controversy involving him and 2 other minority senators.
ABS-CBN News asked him for his reaction now that alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles is being ordered to appear before the Senate on November 7.
"I will not anticipate the advise of her lawyers because you know there is an indictment already against her," said Enrile.
But Enrile quickly added that it's best for Napoles not to testify.
"If I were her lawyer, I will not allow her to testify. May kaso na sya eh. That's her constitutional right. I mean Bill of Rights lang kausap mo diyan," he said.
On the other hand, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada disagreed with Enrile and said it would be better for Napoles to testify.
"Mas mabuti ng magsalita siya. Sana matapos na, nakakapagod na," he said.
Both Estrada and Enrile have inhibited themselves from any pork barrel proceeding so they are not expected to show up at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on November 7.
"I have inhibited myself totally. Bahala na sila diyan. I will not interfere," said Enrile.
Napoles is accused of masterminding the alleged scam that saw billions of pesos in lawmakers' Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) being funneled to alleged bogus non-government organizations.
A Commission on Audit report earlier showed NGOs linked to Napoles received P1.23 billion from Senators Enrile, Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada from 2007 to 2009.
Enrile, Revilla and Estrada are among 38 individuals who were slapped with plunder, graft, bribery and malversation charges for their alleged links to the scam.
Napoles has not been indicted in connection with the pork barrel scam. However, she is facing charges of serious illegal detention before the Makati Regional Trial Court and is currently incarcerated at Fort Sto. Domingo in Santa Rosa, Laguna.
Senate President Franklin Drilon also said Napoles has the right to keep silent. "The right to self-incrimination is a right and a privilege of Ms. Napoles," he said.