Napoles apologizes to solon previously tagged in 'pork' scam

Mike Frialde - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Detained businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles on Tuesday apologized to Manila 5th District Rep. Amado Bagatsing and clarified that she did not implicate the solon in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or the so-called “pork barrel scam.”

Napoles’ statement was read to reporters by her lawyer and spokesman Bruce Rivera shortly after the adjournment if continuation of the hearing of her illegal detention case adjourned at the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150.

“Allow me to clarify that at the outset that I never stated that the (sic) Rep. Bagatsing received or authorized anyone to receive on his behalf rebate or commission from PDAF transactions involving any NGO (non-government organization) connected with me,” said Napoles in her statement.

Napoles said that there was nothing in her May 26, 2014 sworn statement that insinuated that Bagatsing was directly or indirectly involved in the rebate.

“There was nothing in the statement that I ever stated or insinuated that Rep. Bagatsing was directly or indirectly involved or participated in the rebate. I never met Cong. (sic) Bagatsing and have not directly dealt with him,” Napoles said.

“I hope that I have clarified this point to avoid any confusion on the matter and I am extending my sincerest apologies to Cong. Bagatsing for this unfortunate incident,” Napoles added.

Rivera told reporters that Bagatsing wanted Napoles to make the clarification following the solon’s filing of a perjury complaint against the businesswoman last June 10 before the Makati Prosecutor’s Office.

“Rep. Bagatsing kasi really wanted to make clear. With regard to Rep. Bagatsing yung PDAF kasi niya naisama. But later on, we clarified  with Mrs. Napoles na hindi niya talaga nameet. Hindi niya nakasuap. It was just an agent who presented herself,” Rivera said.

“But because Rep. Bagatsing wants us to clarify the situation, we have to clarify. Hindi naman namin sinabi na kasama siya. Ang sinabi namin, merong PDAF na nalink sa kaniya, pero may agent na lumapit. We never stated that Congressman Bagatsing received rebates. Wala po kaming sinabi. To apologize na rin kay Congressman Bagatsing,” Rivera added.

Rivera explained that Napoles only recently made the clarification even though Bagatsing lodged the perjury complaint last June as not to preempt the actions to be taken by the Prosecutor’s Office.

“Kasi nagfile na siya agad ng perjury eh, pinangunahan na niya at nagfile na siya. We don’t want to preempt the prosecution. But when we met in the perjury case, nagusap kami, we had a gentlemens’ talk with Congressman Bagatsing. Tapos sabi niya, o sige sabihin niyo lang yung totoo, of course di naman kami nagsinungaling. We never said anything that he was part of it. We said na nandun lang yung pangalan niya kasi may PDAF na nakapangalan sa kaniya. But as to directly dealing with him, walang ganun,” said Rivera.

Rivera would not comment if Bagatsing is inclined to drop the perjury complaint against Napoles following the public apology and clarification.

Last June 10, Bagatsing filed a complaint of perjury against businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles for implicating him to the pork barrel scam.

In his two-page complaint-affidavit filed before the Makati City Prosecutors Office and sworn before 4th Assistant City Prosecutor Benjamin Vermug Jr., Bagatsing said his name was mentioned by Napoles in her 32-page sworn statement which was submitted to the Senate as among the solons who were involved the pork barrel scam.

Bagatsing said his name was mentioned in page 22 of Napoles’ “sinumpaang salaysay” or sworn statement. Bagatsing added that Napoles named a certain Mina Nieva, said to be a daughter of the late former Manila Rep. Ernesto Nieva as his alleged agent who allegedly received for him the 40 percent rebate of a project of the Technology Resource Center (TRC) funded from his Priority Development Asistance Fund (PDAF) worth P1 million in 2007.

Bagatsing in his complaint-affidavit said he could not have implemented a project involving the use of PDAF in 2007 as he assumed his position as Manila representative in June 30, 2007 and the first PDAF allocated to his district was released by the Department of Budget and Management through the Landbank only in January 2, 2008.

“I can prove beyond any shadow of doubt that I am innocent. I have concrete evidence to show that I did not misuse any allocation of the PDAF,” said Bagatsing.

Bagatsing added that all the documents linking him to the endorsement of a project by the TRC as the implementing agency of Napoles’ Masaganang Ani Foundation, are all fakes with his forged signatures on falsified letterheads.

Bagatsing also denied having known Nieva. He said Nieva has already executed a sworn statement denying any involvement with him or Napoles on the pork barrel scam.

Bagatsing stressed that he did not receive or authorized any person to receive in his behalf a rebate or commission from transactions involving Napoles in her PDAF dealings with the TRC.

“Taken together in its entirety, the Simumpaang Salaysay executed by defendant (Napoles) contained the basic elements of perjury under Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code,” said Bagatsing in his complaint affidavit.

Under Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code, the crime of perjury is committed when the accused made a statement under oath or executed an affidavit upon a material matter; that the statement or affidavit was made before a competent officer authorized to receive and administer oath; that in the statement or affidavit, the accused made a willful and deliberate assertion of a falsehood; and that the sworn statement affidavit containing the falsity is required by law or made for a legal purpose.

“The foregoing elements considered, the respondent Janet L. Napoles is guilty of perjury,” said Bagatsing in his complaint affidavit.

Bagatsing added that he will also be filing a civil case shortly against Napoles for linking him to the pork barrel scam.

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