In making her a state witness, alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles could be used by the administration to target its political opponents, an opposition lawmaker warned on Monday, May 15.
“Making Napoles a state witness gives her the opportunity to spin facts in her favor and likely against opponents of the administration,” Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat said.
“Given how deep she appears to be involved in these scams, she would say anything the administration wants to get her out of her predicament,” he added.
Baguilat is not in favor of the administration’s plan to consider Napoles as state witness in the pork barrel investigation, saying she is the “mastermind” of the scam.
He said the Rules of Court stated that to discharge an accused as state witness, Napoles must not be the most guilty, and there must be no other direct evidence of the offense except the testimony of the proposed state witness, among other requirements.
“Ms. Napoles does not appear to be not the most guilty, as she seems to be the author, instigator and mastermind of the scams,” he said.
“For instance, one does not form bogus organizations by accident; it can only be done with express complicity and active involvement, contradicting any indication of being not the most guilty,” the lawmaker added.
Whenever the administration relies on the testimonies of known criminals or people strongly suspected of doing crimes, Baguilat said, a witch hunt against an opponent of the government was not far behind.
“We saw from the inquisition of Senator Leila de Lima that our Department of Justice would swallow hook, line and sinker the uncorroborated and even illogical testimonies of convicted criminals just to support its witch hunt,” he said.
De Lima has been charged for her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade and detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center.
“Napoles is only a few degrees improved as compared with the DOJ’s drug witnesses as she has not yet been convicted of an offense, a fact which this very same administration made certain by advocating her acquittal of detention charges,” he said.
Baguilat also expressed alarm over the government’s growing reliance on the testimonies of criminal suspects to get a prosecution.
“Birds of the same feather flock together, goes the saying, so it’s disturbing that our justice administrators are going to bed more frequently with known or suspected criminals. If it’s not an indication of a witch hunt, then it’s a sign of laziness and ineptitude; either way, it’s a betrayal of justice and a crime against the Filipino people,” he said.
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