Netizen Kishbuff was not alone in her confusion with Janet Lim-Napoles’ responses to a round-table interview with Inquirer editors, columnists and reporters. The first installment of the verbatim transcript was published Sunday and had gone viral on the Internet.
“Isip-isip muna ateng bago sumugod,” reader Dome Cabias (@IamAstroDome) gave a belated advice to the Basilan-bred businesswoman who now lives in a posh condominium in Bonifacio Global City.
“For a while I thought it was a 21st century revival of the Theater of the Absurd,” film director Jose Javier Reyes (@DirekJoey) tweeted.
These were among the reactions to the Inquirer interview on Thursday with Napoles, the alleged mastermind of a scheme that funneled P10 billion in pork barrel of five senators and 23 members of the House of Representatives over the past 10 years through a network of fake nongovernment organizations.
As of press time Sunday night, readers of Inquirer.net have shared Part I of the Napoles interview with more than 26,000 of their friends via Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
An Inquirer series on the misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund, the official name of the pork barrel, is supported by signed affidavits from six former Napoles employees who have turned whistle-blowers.
Napoles has denied all allegations. She granted the Inquirer an interview without the presence of her lawyer.
“Excellent meeting between Janet Napoles and the PDI people. Janet Napoles has CLEARLY articulated herself and we now understand her better!” netizen pipsirho commented on Inquirer.net
“Ano daw? Dapat nag prepare muna to script niya,” NicksonCabote (@nickson_uno) commented.
The Inquirer round-table discussion with Napoles should be titled “UNINTELLIGIBLE” wrote ProfessionalHeckler (@HecklerForever).
“I can’t help but laugh at the @inquirerdotnet’s interview [with] Mrs. Napoles. I pity the woman for her self-inflicted embarrassment,” AlizednyDitucalan (@zedditucalan) said on Twitter.
“A verbose but meaningless interview with the wacky Janet,” another reader, Chit Ruiz (@ecruz_cpa), concluded.
Some readers, though, were sympathetic to Napoles. “I think she’s being ‘bullied.’ Just saying,” Pepe Alas (@Pepe_Alas) posted on Twitter.
In the round-table discussion, Napoles complained that the Inquirer had not been getting her side. When asked what exactly was lacking in the Inquirer stories about her, she said she would explain the matter at the proper forum.
“This interview proves that you don’t have be smart and/or intelligent to scam P10B. As long as you have yung ano, alam mo na kung ano yung ano,” commented a netizen who used the name milespacker.
“Good thing PDI is reporting the interview verbatim … . it says a lot of things about this scheming and cunning woman,” Julian de Sota said.
Sofia Selden made this observation: “Throughout the published transcript she made exactly one coherent remark, and it was to tell off the photographer for taking pictures of her ‘haggard’ face.”
“Pure entertainment. A wicked businesswoman reaching out and looking forward to bribing a single reporter but instead found herself in a round-table interview with the whole assemblage. Pity the junkie trying to feign innocence. That’s why we are moved… if we are moved,” Jack Phalaphitac said.
Napoles’ decision to “enter the lion’s den” also sparked speculation among netizens.
“I think she went to make an offer … to buy [off] inquirer!!!!” netizen eight_log commented.
“I have a feeling that she went to Inquirer with the intention of bribing the editor. However, on a different note, I’ve read the series of articles written by Nancy Carvajal. I didn’t appreciate the way she mixed her personal opinion with facts,” said netizen steph_abc.
Netizen Pacifico Falayfay wrote: “PDI should ask themselves what could be the reasons of Napoles’ visit. Well, if you don’t know whom to trust, naturally the last bastion is the media. Maybe she was surprised by the panel interview.”
“Going to the Inquirer or to any newspaper office does not help Janet Lim Napoles at all. It’s not the proper venue to air her side. JLN must go to the court when summoned, and let the lawyers on both sides prove and disprove any allegations,” zahraff wrote.
Rizal Bayani said: “She was asking for a one on one interview/meeting with the Editor-in-Chief only. Ano kaya motive nya? To ask to be interviewed to air her side of the story? I doubt. She doesn’t seem prepared to answer questions and would rather not talk about the merit of her case. So what was her purpose? Your guess is as good as mine.”
Not all happy
But not all seemed happy with running the transcript in verbatim.
“It should not have been published. Did not understand the point. Waste of space,” Reese Mojica (@reesemojica) wrote.
“I did not like the fact that she has to be the one to ask for it. For me, she’s using Inquirer for her own interests,” John Davis Mangubat (@TheGreatDavis)) wrote.
“My head is aching for Janet Napoles,” sean_javier said.—With reports from JV Rufino and Ramon Royandoyan