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Napoles willing to bare bank records for ‘pork scam’ probe

Janet Lim Napoles, the businesswoman at the center of the alleged multibillion-peso pork barrel scam, has agreed to open her bank accounts to prove her innocence on the controversy.
“The answer is yes but with the appropriate court order,” said Napoles’ counsel Lorna Kapunan at a press briefing yesterday.
According to Napoles, she was much more eager for a speedier and impartial investigation which can be conducted by any concerned government agencies, including the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Senate and House of Representatives, so that she will have the chance to defend her side and to find out who is really telling the truth.
“Ms. Napoles is a victim of harassment and a target of extortionists. Worse, she is unfairly being persecuted in media. She therefore looks to a full-blown investigation so that if true that there were irregularities in the use of the priority development assistance

fund (PDAF), only those who are responsible are made liable. She is very confident that once the real facts are unraveled, she will be vindicated of the accusations raised against her,” Kapunan was quoted as saying.
The counsel of Napoles stressed her client was never an incorporator, trustee or officer of the foundations allegedly involved in the controversy.
“She did not create nor cause the creation of these foundations. She has never signed for, nor represented these foundations in any way,” Kapunan said.
She told reporters that a simple checking of the records at the Securities and Exchange Commission can easily confirm these facts.
Kapunan clarified that they fully support and will cooperate with the Department of Justice and Secretary Leila de Lima in their investigation on the alleged pork barrel scam.
“However, it is imperative and absolutely necessary for them to also investigate the NBI agents who have been acting as agents of Atty. Levito Baligod, whom Napoles alleged to have tried to extort money from her and who is acting as lawyer for Benhur Luy, his former personal assistant that “blew the whistle” on her.
Kapunan said her client was more than willing to undergo polygraph test “if Luy and Atty. Baligod will both do the same.”
Napoles’ counsel said the NBI and the media should ascertain the credibility of the “whistleblowers” as well as the motivations of these “whistleblowers and their handlers.”  
Even before this controversy started, Napoles had instituted a criminal complaint against Luy for qualified theft before the Prosecutor’s Office in Pasig City.
As a result, there was now a criminal case against Luy at the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, she said.
Kapunan reiterated that there was no problem with them as to whichever will conduct the inquiry on the matter and “even the NBI as long as it would not include in its investigation these NBI agents, namely, Rodante Berou, Redendor Valdez, Adrian Feudo, Winmar de Ramos, Menandro Cariaga, Georgina Brahim, Dario Dones, Marlon Baltazar and Rolando Argabioso who headed the special task force and were said to be connected with Baligod.”  
Meanwhile, government agencies that have been involved in the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam had better be get ready with their documents and other papers relative to the issue as the House is going to look into the controversy.
According to Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, there is a need to question all the government agencies where the controversial funds went through before ending up in the hands of the “fake” non-government organizations (NGOs).
He said he is now ready to file a resolution to investigate all the agencies that could have a hand in the disbursement of the funds that came from the lawmakers’ PDAF.
“There is a need to investigate these agencies because they were the ones who identified the contractors and the NGOs that implemented the projects,”Tiangco stressed.
He said among those heads of agencies that would be summoned by the House are the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC).
He noted that most of the “pork” that found its way into the questionable NGOs which include that of Napoles went through the DA and DAR.
Tiangco said the DoTC would also be grilled relative to the P66 million that was earmarked for computers.
“They (agencies) should explain because they were the implementing agencies. Why did they release funds for projects that they did not see?” he asked.
Tiangco noted that whenever controversies involving the PDAF arise only the lawmakers are being blamed when government agencies have had a big role in its disbursement.
“They should cooperate in the probe,” he said.
Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, for his part, said not even a single centavo of his PDAF was spent for the purchase of the computers and IT peripherals mentioned in the Commission on Audit report for the DoTC.
“My congressional district did receive computer units from the DoTC in 2009. The said items were immediately distributed to the following: Capiz State University; various public elementary schools and barangay units.  Some of these computers were also assigned to police stations in my congressional district,” Castro said yesterday.
He added he is ready to help in the inquiry.
“Although neither DoTC nor CoA asked for it, my congressional staff kept documents showing receipt by the beneficiaries of the computer units. We are now in the process of collating these documents to be presented to DoTC and/or CoA if they need them.  Audit inspectors are welcome to conduct an inquiry into this issue,” the Capiz lawmaker said.

With  Arlie O. Calalo

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