FORMER Negros Oriental representative Jacinto “Jing” Paras claimed on Saturday that alleged pork scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles had told him that former president Benigno Aquino 3rd “was getting commission from her.”
According to Paras, Napoles admitted to this sometime in late 2009 or early 2010 in a restaurant at Linden Suites in Pasig City. Aquino was a senator at the time.
“I was witness to her statement that Noynoy Aquino was getting commission from her, according to her…she said [this]in front of me and another lawyer,” Paras, lawyer of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, said during a forum at Annabel’s restaurant in Quezon City.
Sought for comment, Abigail Valte, who was deputy presidential spokeswoman during Aquino’s term as president, told The Manila Times in a text message, “That’s preposterous. Some quarters will do anything to associate the former president with Janet Napoles. So far, no one has been able to go beyond hearsay and speculation, only pointing fingers.”
Napoles was acquitted last month of a serious illegal detention charge filed by the pork scam star witness, Benhur Luy, and is now being considered as a state witness.
The Justice department plans to reinvestigate the pork barrel scam, claiming the previous administration did not run after Aquino’s allies who were also involved in the mess.
Paras on Saturday claimed Napoles told him about the recipients of her political campaign donations.
“Napoles set an appointment with me,” Paras told reporters in an interview. “I asked, ‘Jenny, who will you support this coming election?’ She said, ‘As for me sir, I’m for Manny Villar,’” Paras said.
“Sabi ko, ‘Bakit, ayaw mo ba kay Noynoy kasi he’s gaining ground?’ Sabi niya, ‘Sir e, ano iyan e, nangongomisyon sa akin,’” he said. (“I said, ‘Why, don’t you want to support Aquino because he’s gaining ground?’ She said, ‘Sir, he gets commissions from me.’”)
“This was in front of her lawyer,” Paras said. “I hope she will acknowledge the fact that she said that.” “If she eventually becomes a state witness, my only request of her is to tell the truth…If what she told me is the truth, I hope she reiterates that,” Paras added.
Napoles, who is detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, is among several individuals facing charges before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel scam.