The Fat Lady of the PDAF scam, Janet Napoles noted Sen. Miriam Santiago’s assessment of her during the Senate Inquiry last November 2013. The feisty Senator has said of her that she lacks the sophistication to pull off such a complicated scheme of defrauding the government of billions pesos involving lawmakers. The latter encouraged her to snitch the mastermind to exculpate herself. However, the Fat Lady chose to invoke her self-incrimination right. It was too early in the game then. For one who once said, she holds the government in the palms of her hands, she could still wield the power and influence she once had, or, wait till the winds change its course.
Meanwhile, outside her detention cell at Laguna, Fort Sto. Domingo, there had been attempts to disrupt, divert, delay, and derail the procedural prosecution throwing all intrigues and machinations of those who were similarly charged of plunder coming from the three musketeers of the PDAF’s scam. All three, denied involvement, but each has additional patented approaches. For Sen. Bong Revilla or “Pogi” he alternated his ruse between pleading for public sympathy and insisting on political persecution. For Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, or “Sexy”, selective justice, and fatalistic tactic. “Let’s burn the house, and we go all together in hell, as most of us are tainted, anyway”. Jinggoy’s wanted to divert the heat away from them and hope to buy time until the next dispensation in 2016. Juan Ponce Enrile, or “Tanda” took the “no effect on him approach”. He was just cool as if he never had been bothered.
The prosecution efforts continue to grind, though. The Office of the Ombudsman found a probable cause for the four and others of the Batch 1 filed by the Dept. of Justice for indictment at the Sandigan Bayan. The Office of the Ombudsman approved the application of Ruby Tuazon, conduits of the kickback money for “Sexy and “Tanda” as a state witness. Remorsefully, she admitted her wrongdoings and in good gesture, she returned the 40 million, she said, she commissioned from the PDAF’s transactions. ”Sexy” seethe at the deal that Tuazon got, and probably, Napoles, too. Impending arrest loomed for the three musketeers. Jails for them had been prepared. Arrest protocols and procedures put in place. Rightly so, because, they are not just the “big fishes”, but “whales”, to be put behind bars.
Psychologically, or otherwise, the Fats Lady’s incarceration took a heavy toll on her body and spirit. At one time, her lawyer declared she’s losing her wits. Later, she complained of bleeding. Cyst in her ovary caused her bleeding and she needed to undergo hysterectomy. Napoles preferred staying at the “OsMak” hospital rather than in her detention cell.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, the Fat Lady’s spiritual counselor advised her to “tell all”. She distributed her unsigned affidavit to different people purportedly contain a list of those lawmakers she transacted with. Apparently, she didn’t follow faithfully the advice of her spiritual counselor because names and numbers listed on her unsigned affidavits fluctuate, as if she couldn’t make up her mind.
Before her hysterectomy operation, Justice Secretary, De Lima agreed to the Fat Lady’s request for a “tell all” session at “OsMak”. They talked until the wee hours of the morning. The meeting concluded with De Lima, bringing with her the first part of Napoles’ signed affidavit.
The next day, Panfilo Lacson, the appointed Rehabilitation Czar, bannered, he, too, had the unsigned Napoles Affidavit. Lacson dropped off hints who among his colleagues in the Senate before are on the Napoles List. The list made a ruckus among the lawmakers who had dealt with Napoles. Several Senators washed their hands in public. Sen. Jinggoy, who has an inner knowledge of who among his colleague partake on the PDAF’s scam, took this chance again to press for his, “we go together in hell” tactic, by demanding that the Napoles List be released in public. “Sexy’s” demand seemed to get traction as some sectors suspected and worried of the probability of sanitizing the list.
P’Noy broke the impasse. He revealed there were actually three lists and each of them differed on the number and names of personalities involved. Amused somewhat, P’Noy said, “Ano ba talaga Ateng?” Patterns seemed to emerge. The Fat Lady’s List meant to sow confusion, muddle the issue, and prolong the prosecution process until 2016 where it might be possible for her to cut a deal.
Teofisto Guingona, chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee subpoenaed Sec. De Lima to submit the first part of the Napoles signed affidavit. De Lima complied, and promised the 2nd signed affidavit would follow. Lacson surrendered his unsigned one, too, although his, is with no probity value, only political repercussion.
On May 26, De Lima submitted to Guingona the 2nd Napoles signed affidavit. In the interest of transparency, Guingona released it right away to the media. Amnesia became epidemic among the lawmakers who made into the list. They forgot dealing with Napoles.
Napoles’ 2nd Affidavit is a mixed bag. The Fat Lady mimics Jinggoy’s and Bong’s strategy. “Let’s burn the house down”, implicating as many lawmakers as possible and copied Bong’s style of seeking for public sympathy by pleading to the Ombudsman to spare her children from prosecution. The Fat Lady maybe unsophisticated, as Miriam Santiago described her, but she is a street-smart negotiator of a quid pro quo deal. She said, riding on Miriam’s assessment, couldn’t be the mastermind, and she has just been sucked up by the rotten system, but she’s willing to cooperate, if she could be immune to prosecution as a state witness. She’s unfaithful to her spiritual counselor’s advice to “tell all”, instead, she “blame all” in her 2nd Affidavit. She admitted her mistakes and say sorry for her deeds; this is self-incrimination and admissible in court, yet, unlike Tuazon she didn’t offer a goodwill gesture. She wanted the best of both worlds despite her dire situation. “Ano ba talaga Ateng?” The Fat Lady sang… but in dissonance.