Palace seeks probe on Napoles claim of P5-M donation to Drilon

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 23) — Malacanang wants an investigation on Janet Lim Napoles' claim that she gave millions in donations to Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon during the 2010 presidential elections.

"Let her speak, and I'm sure that in addition to what she has to say, she would have physical evidence to back up whatever it is that she alleges," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Tuesday.

He said he hopes the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice (DOJ) will conduct separate investigations on Napoles' allegations. He said the DOJ should submit its findings to the Ombudsman.

Napoles, alleged mastermind of the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam, earlier told state-run PTV-4 that she and Drilon were friends. She said she is "hurt" by Drilon's denial of their friendship.

"Kilala niya po ako at sa katunayan po nagbigay po ako ng donation nung eleksyon na tumakbo po siya nung 2010 election [He knows me and in fact I gave a donation when he ran during the 2010 election]," Napoles said, adding she gave a total of P5 million.

Drilon din not run during the 2010 presidential elections but was chairperson of the Liberal Party (LP). Its standard bearer, Benigno Aquino III, won as president.

In a statement on Monday, Drilon dismissed Napoles' claim as "fake news intended to harass the opposition."

"We deny having received any campaign contribution from Napoles. We have submitted our Statements of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE), which are open for public scrutiny," Drilon said.

Roque clarified it is not just Drilon the government is going after.

"No, we want the whole truth and nothing but the truth to come out of this PDAF scam," he said.

He was referring to the Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel, which the Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional in 2013 after the scam was revealed.

Napoles is facing plunder and graft charges before the Sandiganbayan for allegedly funneling lawmakers' millions in pork barrel funds to bogus nongovernment organizations.

In 2014, Napoles applied to become a state witness, which Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales strongly opposed.