Whistleblower clears Masbate Gov. Lanete facing plunder case

By , on May 12, 2015

Masbate Gov. Rizalina Seachon-Lanete (Photo: An Probinsya San Masbate Yana Facebook page_
Masbate Gov. Rizalina Seachon-Lanete (Photo: An Probinsya San Masbate Yana Facebook page_

MANILA — The main government witness against lawmakers who allegedly juggled their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in connivance with businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles who owns and control bogus non-governmental organization (NGOs) virtually cleared Masbate Governor Rizalina Seacon Lanete.

At the continuation of the bail hearing at Sandiganbayan Fourth Division, whistleblower Marina Sula said Lanete, the former lawmaker did not sign any document related to the disbursement of her pork barrel or PDAF. She also testified before Fourth Division chairman and Associate Justice Jose Hernandez that she never saw Lanete in any of the parties or events hosted by Napoles.

Sula has been admitted to the DOJ’s Witness Protection Program as a permanent state witness after she satisfied the agency’s requisites of the agency. She is, however, bound by certain condition stipulated in her agreement with the DOJ to remain as a state witness.

She told the court that she is willing to testify in other cases that will be filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in connection with the alleged scam.

Hernandez found Sula’s answer “very laudable” despite reminding her that this case could take her more than 10 years taking the witness stand.

During cross examination, Sula, who previously worked for alleged scam mastermind Napoles admitted that her fear of going to prison convinced her to accept the government’s offer to be a state witness.

Out of the blue, Hernandez asked Prosecutor Jorge Espinal why the Department of Justice had not filed the second and third batch of personalities who allegedly benefited from pork scam.

“File the second and third batch. What are you waiting for? You have a very willing witness. Without her testimony you will have no case,” Hernandez told Espinal.

Espinal, however, told the court that “it’s not our call” reminding that they are not persons in authority to answer the question of Hernandez.

Earlier, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima admitted that she is uncertain if she can concentrate on the filing of the third batch of pork barrel scam cases due to other more “urgent” cases she had to attend to.