'Evasive' Janet Napoles frustrates senators

MANILA, Philippines - Janet Lim-Napoles, suspected brains of the scam involving PHP 10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel funds of lawmakers, wearing abullet-proof vest, arrives for the Senate hearing in Pasay City, south of Manila, on 07 November 2013. The Philippine government has filed, at the Office of the Ombudsman, charges of plunder against Napoles, and among co-respondents in the complaint are Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. (Voltaire Domingo/NPPA IMAGES) (NPPA Images)

Senators were frustrated Thursday as alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim Napoles dodged their questions on the pork barrel scam.

Napoles, who appeared in public for first time since her surrender, hardly answered senators' questions, often saying her memory failed her.

She also repeatedly invoked her right against self-incrimination, pending complaints filed against her and lawmakers before the Ombudsman.

Napoles' "evasive" position prodded Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago to advise her to bare all, "before she gets killed."

Other senators meanwhile urged Napoles to heed Santiago's advice, but at least two--Senators Cynthia Villa and JV Ejercito--chose not to ask questions at all.

Read through the timeline of events following Napoles' arrival at the Senate:

10: 15 a.m: Napoles arrives at the Senate. She's wearing a bullet-proof vest. Footage here: Napoles in Senate

10:20 a.m.: Napoles takes oath before Senate Blue Ribbon Committee

10:26 a.m.: Napoles admits she has no private lawyer. Senate-provided lawyers from the Public Attorney's Office ask for a break to speak with Napoles.

10:30 a.m.: Session temporarily suspended.

More updates from ANC.YAHOO.COM

From ANC: Is Napoles really capable of plunder?

Timeline: The Janet Napoles saga

Must see video: A look back at the pork barrel scam 

10: 45 a.m.: Napoles and PAO lawyers reportedly conferring inside Senator Alan Peter Cayetano's office.

10:49 a.m:  Session resumes but lawyer Howard Areza asks for an executive session, in behalf of client Napoles.

Based on Senate rules:

"The executive sessions of the Senate shall be held always behind closed doors. In such sessions, only the Secretary, the Sergeant-at-Arms, and/or such other persons as may be authorized by the Senate may be admitted to the session hall." However, the "minutes of the executive sessions shall be recorded in a separate book."

10:54 a.m.: Senator Cayetano says: "Magkakaroon lang ng duda kapag tayo-tayo lang ang nag-usap. Why don't we do it now public?" He adds that the best way to do the hearing is in public.

10: 56 a.m.: Blue Ribbon Committee chair TG Guingona rejects Napoles' request for an executive session.

10: 57 a.m.: Guingona to Napoles: Anong business itong JNL Corporation? Sino-sino po ang kliyente niyo.

Napoles: Sir may kaso na po kami sa BIR, doon nalang namin sasagutin.

10:59 a.m.: Guingona asks Napoles about her links to the pork barrel scam whistleblowers.

11:03 a.m.: Napoles denies that she instructed Benhur Luy and other whistleblowers to register bogus nongovernment organizations.

11:05 a.m.: Benhur Luy to Guingona: "Sir nagsisinungaling po siya. Totoo po iyon." Whistleblower Merlina Sunas concurs.

11:07 a.m.: Napoles says only Magdela Luy-Lim Foundation was formed under her instruction. She says this organization is used for JLN Corp.'s outreach programs.

11:10 a.m.: Luy and Sunas claim the offices of several NGOs are located in Napoles properties.

11:14 a.m.: Asked about offering "kickbacks" to lawmakers, Napoles says, "Hindi po totoo."

11:15 a.m.: Napoles also denies that lawmakers approach her for kickbacks.

"Nakakaawa nga po ang mga senador na nada-drag ang mga pangalan sa isyu," Napoles says.

11:20 a.m.: Benhur Luy claims they have proof of Napoles relations with lawmakers.

"Ipapasubpoena po natin yung mga telcos para makita po na ang tinatawagan po ni Ms. Napoles ang mga lawmakers."

11:23 a.m.: Napoles: "Sa tingin niyo kung may mga kickback na ganyan yung mga lawmakers at mga chief of staff pipirma ng voucher? Wala naman pong mga voucher voucher."

11:25 a.m.: Benhur Luy and Marina Sula refute Napoles' claim on vouchers. Sula says they even shredded vouchers under Napoles' orders.

11:31 a.m.: Napoles insists that all statements by whistleblowers are false even as Guingona reminded her that she is under oath.

11:34 a.m.: A red-faced Napoles makes faces as Luy makes his statements.

11:37 a.m.: Asked if she knows lawmakers, Napoles retorts, "Sila kilala ko sila pero hindi nila ako kilala."

11:40 a.m.: Luy: "Nagsisinungaling siya. Totoo na nagbibigay siya sa mga opisyal ng implementing agencies. Nakikita ko."

11:42 a.m.: Guingona: "Ayon kay Benhur, may 3 paraan sa pag-transfer ng pera: fund transfer, manager's check, cash." Napoles denies it.

11:44 a.m.: Luy identifies addresses of lawmakers and chiefs of staff where they delivered money. Napoles however denies it.

11:51 a.m.: Reading from Senate affidavits, Luy reveals the lawmakers who received funds and how much they got.

11:56 a.m.: Napoles shows disinterest as Luy reveals records of lawmakers' kickbacks.

12:00 p.m.: Merlina Sunas confirms all details revealed by Luy, saying she is one of those making withdrawals.

12:03 p.m.: Napoles on accounts abroad: "Hindi po totoo... May pending case na po kami diyan, dun na lang po namin sasagutin."

12:05 p.m.: Napoles denies that they faked the list of PDAF project beneficiaries. Whistleblower Sunas says, "Totoo pong fake ang mga beneficiaries kasi 'yon ang inuutos niya (Napoles)."

12:10 p.m.: Luy says entities listed as PDAF project beneficiaries exist but their signatures had been forged.

12:15 p.m.: Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who said she is not feeling well, prepares to interrogate Napoles.

12:17 p.m.: Santiago to Napoles: "Oh there you are. Let me take a good look at you."

12:19 p.m.: Santiago: "Right against self- incrimination only applies to a criminal case. This is not a criminal case, but an administrative case."

"I will not bully you. So give me the same courtesy. Tell me the truth and nothing but the truth. Pag nagsinungaling ka, lagot ka," she adds.

12:20 p.m.: Santiago raps senators for earlier saying Napoles can be offered immunity. "Mali, mali, mali!" she says.

Santiago also alludes to a senator who made personal attacks against her. "We are bound by the canons of civility and decency. Stick to principles involved. Do not go into personalities," Santiago says.

12:21 p.m.: Santiago to Napoles: "Hindi naman pwede Mrs Napoles na lahat na lang (ng tanong) tatanggihan mo."

12:25 p.m.: Santiago to Napoles: "Right against self-incrimination' ang isasagot mo kapag ayaw mong masangkot."

The senator then asked Napoles if the senator code named "Tanda" is Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.

Napoles repeats after Santiago: "Right against self-incrimination."

12:30 p.m.: Santiago asks Napoles about senators assigned code names by whistleblowers.

Napoles invokes right to self-incrimination several times. Santiago: "Bilisan natin. Puro pala 'I invoke my right eh!'"

12:32 p.m.: Santiago: "Pag ganyan ka sumagot na 'I invoke my right,' sinasabi mo sa publiko na may alam ka pero ayaw mo sagutin ang totoo."


Related story: Whistleblowers meet accident on the way to Senate

Video: Napoles denies creating bogus NGOs

12:35 p.m.: Santiago explains to Napoles the requirements for her to be state witness. The senator warned that Napoles could be covering up for someone who could be "most guilty."

12:37 p.m.: Santiago reads from Rules of Court to outline requirements to be state witness, adding, "You can't be state witness if you are most guilty."

12:41 p.m.:
Santiago: "Inaamin mo bang ikaw ang most guilty?"
Napoles: "Hindi po."
Santiago: "Of course not."

12:44 p.m.: Santiago to Napoles: "Kung ayaw mong amining ikaw ang most guilty, dapat ngayon pa lang, sabihin mo na kung sino ang mas guilty."

12:47 p.m.: Miriam makes a compelling case to convince Napoles to drop names. "Papayag kang makulong nang 20 to 40 years para maprotektahan ang most guilty?"

"Hindi mo kaya itong buong empire na ito. You cannot build a pyramid out of separate bricks," Santiago says.

12:50 p.m.: Santiago to Napoles: "Kung si Enrile ang pinaka-guilty, sabihin mo na para di ka niya ipapatay... Huwag mong i-underestimate si Enrile. May asim pa si tanda."

12:52 p.m.: Santiago tries to link Enrile to Napoles' husband Jimmy, a military major involved in an 80s coup.

12:55 p.m.: Santiago interrogates Napoles about her lawyer Rene Villa: "I have to say I have never met a biodata with such unparalleled mediocrity."

12:58 p.m.: Santiago asks Napoles about the 10 Commandments taught by the Catholic Church.

Santiago: "Hindi ba isa sa mga commandments eh "Thou shall not steal."
Napoles: "Opo."
Santiago: "Yet you steal. Anong klaseng Katoliko ka?"

Santiago: "Are you familiar with 'Thou shall not lie?'"
Napoles: "Opo."
Santiago: "Ngayon lang nagsisinungaling ka sa akin eh."

1:02 p.m.: Santiago convinces Napoles to "avail of the protection of perpetuation of testimony." This will allow the court to record her statements for future reference.

"Baka ipapatay ka pa. Gantihan mo na habang buhay ka pa," Santiago tells Napoles.

1:05 p.m.: Santiago talks about Brian Yamsuan, a former Malacanang consultant who was sacked for alleged links to Napoles.

"Yung Brian (Yamsuan), PR dati iyan ni ex-DILG Sec.Puno, isa pang tao na gusto akong patayin. Pinepressure si Cathy sumulat masama sakin," she says.

1:08 p.m.: Santiago: "Maliwanag na nag-umpisa ka sa pagiging mahirap. Kaya lang baka hindi tuwid ang daan na dinaanan."

1:10 p.m.: Napoles invokes her right against self-incrimination when asked about her Ritz Carlton residence.

1:14 p.m.: Santiago: "Kailan ka nag-umpisang yumaman?"
Napoles: "I invoke my right against self-incrimination."
Santiago: "Ay. Gusto ko sana turuan mo ako para yumaman din ako."

1:18: p.m.: Senate probe on recess for lunch after Napoles, a diabetic, complains of dizziness.

2:15 p.m.: Session resumes. Senators begin interrogating Napoles again.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano asks Napoles about her alleged links to the so-called "fertilizer fund scam." Napoles denies knowledge of the project.

Cayetano: "Sa tingin niyo po inosente kayo at maaabswel

Cayetano: "Wala po kayong nakuha sa fertilizer scam."
Napoles: "Wala po."

2:24 p.m.: Cayetano resurfaces Napoles links to the fertilizer fund scam, says Department of Agriculture has certification on deal with Jo-Chris Trading, a company owned by Napoles.

Cayetano shows Napoles documents in the fertizer scam which allegedly bear her signature. Napoles says she does not remember the documents.

2:28 p.m.: Cayetano asks Napoles when she started dealing with the government. Napoles says she does not remember.

2:30 p.m.: Whistleblower Sula confirms that Napolies signed the documents used during the fertilizer fund scam probe.

2:34 p.m.: Cayetano to Napoles: "I am giving you every opportunity to prove that you are innocent... If it's true you're innocent, you're not giving people reason to believe it."

2:36 p.m.:
Cayetano: "You would admit na mayaman ka? Na marami po kayong resources."
Napoles: "Hindi po... Tama lang po sa buhay."

2:40 p.m.: Cayetano quizzes Napoles about her assets, including her mother's luxurious mausoleum and posh condominiums.

When Cayetano mentioned Napoles siblings, she begged that their privacy be respected. "Sana po ako na lang," she said.

2:47 p.m.: Cayetano asks Napoles about her roundtable with the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Cayetano: "Sa Inquirer interview...may sinabi kayo na may ibang mastermind. Sino?"
Napoles: "Hindi ko po matandaan."
Cayetano: "Hindi niyo kilala sinong mastermind? Allegedly binulong niyo sa taga-Inquirer sinong mastermind."
Napoles: "Hindi po."

2:50 p.m.: Napoles says she has no intention to join politics, but admits that her husband Jimmy attempted to enter Congress through SMILE party-list.

Cayetano: "Do you know that SMILE Partylist was mentioned twice in the Hello Garci tapes?"

The senator says former elections commission Virgilio Garcillano was heard asking help for SMILE and saying the group was "owned by a friend."

Asked why her husband wanted to join politics, Napoles says it was in the name of "public service."

2:54 p.m.
: Napoles says she doesn't know why her former employees are testifying against her.

Asked about her relationship with Benhur Luy, Napoles says, "Magkamag-anak po kami pero hindi po kami gaanong malapit."

2:58 p.m.: Cayetano ends his interrogation of Napoles. "The witness has been evasive; selective kung kailan at kung naalala o hindi," he notes.

Senator Chiz Escudero fields his questions for Napoles after.

3:03 p.m.: Escudero asks Napoles about her statements in past interviews with the Inquirer, ABS-CBN and GMA News TV.

Escudero: "Anong nangyari sa raid ng NBI? Pano nasaktan anak niyo?"
Napoles: "Di ko matandaan."

Escudero: "Sinabi niyo sa Inquirer interview na may boss si Benhur Luy--- sino po ang babaeng boss ni Benhur?"
Napoles: "Hindi ko po maalala."

3:07 p.m.: Lawyer Levito Baligod takes his oath as a witness in the Senate's pork barrel scam probe.

3:10 p.m.: Baligod says he was offered P5 million to settle issues between Napoles and the whistleblowers. Baligod says he refused.

3:14 p.m.: Escudero asks Napoles about her business here and abroad, including some in the U.S.

Escudero: "Dahil po ba sa mga negosyo na ito nabili ninyo ang unit sa Ritz Carlton? Nakabili pi kayo ng Ritz Carlton apartment?"
Napoles: "Opo."

3:15 p.m.: Escudero asks Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to invited Janet Napoles' husband Jimmy to "shed light" on family businesses.

3:18 p.m.: Escudero: "Bago po tayo magsimula humiling po kayo ng executive session. Kung puro po kayo 'I invoke my right against self-incrimination' bakit pa po kailangang mag-executive session?"

Napoles admits that PAO lawyers advised her to seek executive session. Asked why, she invoked "attorney-client privilege."

3:20 p.m.: Escudero ends his interrogation. He asks Napoles: "Under oath, wala po kayong kinalaman sa PDAF? Kahit piso sa pera ninyo ay hindi galing sa kahit anong scam?
Napoles: "Opo."

Senator Bam Aquino takes the floor from Escudero.

3:21 p.m.:
Aquino: "Kung mage-executive session po ba tayo, pareho pa rin po ba ang magiging mga sagot ninyo?"
Napoles: "Opo."

3:22 p.m.: Napoles refuses to name company she and her husband own in Indonesia. "Sa affidavit na lang po para hindi naman pagpiyestahan..."

3:24 p.m.: Napoles says she is not willing to waive her rights under the bank secrecy law, which Aquino says may prove her claimed innocence.

3:26 p.m.: Senator Aquino asks Napoles if she is saying she did not have any PDAF transactions. "Hindi ko po maalala," Napoles says.

3:27 p.m.: Aquino ends interrogation: "Paano po maniniwala sa inyo kung lahat ng sagot niyo ay I don't know at I invoke my right against self-incrimination? "

Senator JV Ejercito proceeds with his questions.

3:30 p.m.:
Ejercito: "Paano niyo balak patunayan ang pagiging inosente?"
Napoles: "Kukuha ng abogado."

Ejercito then ends his questions, saying he doesn't think the Senate can "extract answers" from Napoles.

Senator Grace Poe Llamanzares takes the floor.

3:32 p.m.: Poe challenges Napoles to directly answer questions instead of dodging them. "Hindi iyan ang normal na reaksyon ng isang tao nagngingitngit dahil may di makatuwirang bagay na ginagawa sa kanya," Poe says.

12:35 p.m.
: Poe: "Ginang Napoles, sa kaibuturan ng inyong puso, mayroon pa po ba kayong damdamin para sa ating mga kababayan?"

3:38 p.m.: Poe asks Napoles about Jo-Chris Trading, which supposedly distributed ornamental fertilizers to farmers. Napoles says, "Wala po kaming sinupply na fertilizer."

Poe then turns to Luy, who said: "Nakalagay po doon sa fertilizer by Jo-Chris trading. May DA findings din."

3:40 p.m.: Poe's last question: "Mayroon ba kayong pinagsisisihan?"
Napoles: (Silence)
Poe: "Baka wala naman po masyadong pinagsisisihan."

Senator Antonio Trillanes takes the floor.

3:44 p.m.: Luy again reads from his Senate affidavit, upon the request of Trillanes.

3:48 p.m.: After Luy read affidavit, Trillanes says, "You chose not to defend yourself against these allegations. What can you say?"
Napoles: "Nasa Ombudsman na po ang mga kaso."

Trillanes then urged Napoles to heed Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago's advice.

3:50 p.m.: Trillanes asks Justice Secretary Leila De Lima if senators are included in the new batch of charges.

3:53 p.m.: De Lima says DOJ and National Bureau of Investigation are also probing non-PDAF cases.

She adds that "filing of cases is again delayed because gusto namin na kung kaya, ibuhos na lahat in so far as Napoles cases concerned."

3:55 p.m.:
Trillanes: "Wala pong utos from Malacanang to clean up the list for the third batch?"
De Lima: "Absolutely none. In fact, the president said we should go where the evidence takes us."

3:57 p.m.: Trillanes ends interrogation. Turning to Luy, he says: "Naiintindihan ko po ang hirap na pinagdadaanan niyo. The Filipino people are behind you."

3:59 p.m.: Senator Cynthia Villar, who was supposed to field questions after Trillanes, defers, saying "wala naman pong masasagot sa mga tanong ko."

4:01 p.m.:
Senator Alan Cayetano: "Bakit nyo sinabing kawawa yung senators na nada-drag yung pangalan? Sa palagay niyo po aba inosente sila?"
Napoles: "Nababasa ko sa dyaryo... Opinyon ko lang po yun."

Cayetano again urges Napoles to follow Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

4:03 p.m.: Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chair Teofisto Guingona: "Ayoko magsalita na tapos na tayo. We will meet again. We will evaluate the case."

Guingona then declares the Senate probe on the pork barrel scam "suspended until further yun."

Cayetano again urges Napoles to follow Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

Thank you for following our live updates. Keep visiting Yahoo Philippines and ANC at Yahoo for the latest news. --Kim Arveen Patria

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