Press Release
August 29, 2013

RIP Pork: Cayetano slams plans to make Napoles state witness,
bares Napoles involvement in 2004 Fertilizer Fund Scam

"I am disgusted, sickened by talks of making Ms. Janet Napoles a state witness," Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano told reporters on Thursday, baring the businesswoman's involvement in the 2004 Fertilizer Fund Scam.

"I would like to congratulate the President for his assurance of due process. Ms. Napoles' surrender is important. However, I find talks of her becoming a state witness sickening," he said.

Napoles has been named by whistleblowers as the alleged brains of the decade-long scam which siphoned off billions of taxpayers' money but her role in anomalous transactions in the government could be traced back to as early as the 2004 Fertilizer Fund Scam, the Senator pointed out.

"She has been in business since 2004, during the time of the Fertilizer Fund scam in the Department of Agriculture. She has been tagged as one of those involved so how was she able to get projects from 2007 to 2009? The Fertilizer Fund scam has been investigated, how is it that she is so powerful that she was still able to secure project funding from lawmakers' PDAF?" asked Cayetano.

Cayetano said that it was Napoles' involvement in the 2004 scam that made it unethical to make her a state witness.

"We should get the testimony from her but not in exchange for becoming a state witness which is unnecessary. Otherwise, how will we hold accountable individuals abusing government funds if we will always offer this?" Cayetano asked.

The senator explained that in law, "there has to be an absolute necessity for the testimony of the accused whose discharge is requested for him or her to be considered as state witness".

"Prove first that she will play a vital role in this investigation. Right now we need to prosecute her, not get information from her. There should be no special treatment," he said.

Cayetano supports the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee inquiry on the pork barrel racket, optimistic that it will yield information on lawmakers involved in the scam should all Senators submit themselves to questioning by their colleagues.

"Senators implicated in the scam are welcome to attend the hearing and ask questions. They should not be seen as impeding the hearings but more of shedding light on the report of COA," he explained.

The senator stressed the importance for the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee as well as other agencies mandated to look into the matter to have a thorough and credible investigation so that these efforts will lead to substantial evidence to prosecute the accused.

"It is important that we find the whole truth in this committee, in the IAAGCC or in other legal forums so that we will not be forced to make the accused state witnesses. Let us prosecute those who have to be prosecuted and those who have abused the system," he said.

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