Lawyer Lorna Kapunan said those testifying against Napoles, who is facing plunder charges in connection with the supposed scam, should be included in the case before they can be turned into state witnesses.
“You cannot be dropped from the case if you are not included as a respondent,” she told reporters before the start of the hearing on Napoles’ bail petition at the Makati Regional Trial Court.
Napoles is currently detained at Fort Sto. Domingo in Laguna over a serious illegal detention case involving the pork barrel scam’s whistleblower Benhur Luy.
Kapunan said neither the National Bureau of Investigation nor the Department of Justice can remove a suspect in the charge sheet. She said only the court — in this case the Sandiganbayan — can make such a decision.
Kapunan also noted that non-inclusion in the charges gives the whistleblowers an “unbridled license to say anything.”
“Every day meron silang mga statement. Pag hindi sila included sa kasong plunder, walang sworn statement yan, they cannot be held liable for perjury,” she said, adding that the statements from the whistleblowers are unfair to her client.
Among the whistleblowers against Napoles are Luy, Merlina Suñas and Marina Sula, all former employees of her JLN Corp.
Kapunan said they will be presenting three witnesses for Napoles’ bail petition but did not identify them. The defense panel is set to present their side on October 29 and 30 at 9 a.m.
The prosecution panel, on the other hand, will present its last witness, Luy, on October 25.
Kapunan believed the prosecution has “miserably failed to show that bail should be denied.”
“It is up to the judge to appreciate the credibility or lack of credibility of the witnesses presented,” she said, adding that there were witnesses whose testimony was different from their sworn affidavit. — KBK, GMA News