MANILA, Philippines— Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said on Monday that the testimony of the purported P10 billion pork barrel scam instigator Janet Lim-Napoles should be ‘preserved’ as early as possible due to the threats on her life.
Santiago added that the Rules of the Court permit an individual to preserve his or her testimony ‘for future purposes’ even before the “deposition and discovery” procedure.
“Any adverse event could prevent Napoles from fully identifying the senators and congressmen with whom she had PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) transactions. For example, any of the suspects could hire operatives to silence her, or she might inflict physical damage on herself. She might contract a life-threatening ailment. For any of these reasons, the Rules of Court allows her to give her testimony well before trial,” the senator said.
Additionally, the legislator also noted that Napoles can diminish her level of risks to her safety as soon as she pinpoints the office-bearers involved in the said scam.
“It can reasonably be expected that Napoles will name the senators and representatives as expected adverse parties. The Rules require her to serve notice at least 20 days before the date of hearing,” said Santiago.
Meanwhile, Senate President Franklin Drilon was supported by Senator Francis Escudero concerning the suggestion of reassigning the proceedings of Napoles to a place closer to Fort Bonifacio.
“You don’t have to bring the prisoner to the court. You just have to bring the court to the prisoner,” Drilon said.
Moreover, the proposal of Drilon might be considered according to the Interior Secretary Mar Roxas if the police will find it problematic to transfer Napoles to Makati for her prosecution this coming week.
“So far, we just complied with order of the court. Perhaps once we have accumulated all the costs and information, it is not beyond the PNP to go to the court and say, this is how much it costs us and this is how much disruption it costs,” Roxas said.
Alfred Mark L. Rosete
ABCom, Leyte Normal University