Napoles lawyer: Senate ‘pork’ hearing ‘in aid of entertainment’

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Friday, October 25, 2013

THE defense counsel of Janet Lim-Napoles, on Friday questioned the motive of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee in investigating the alleged pork barrel scam, saying the ongoing probe is "in aid of entertainment."

"Is this in aid of legislation, in aid of entertainment or in aid of election. Why only the opposition leaders?" lawyer Lorna Kapunan asked in a radio interview.

The lawyer said it is a "big question mark why the opposition leaders are the only ones being pinned down in the pork barrel issue."

Kapunan said she is still trying to figure out what will happen to her client if she will reveal the names of those who benefited from the scheme during the hearing as she expressed disgust on the situation of Napoles.

"Imagine the situation. What do you think the senators will do if Mrs. Napoles names them. How will they take it? How will they react?" she said.

Kapunan said the motive of this hearing is very clear, "Lahat magga-grandstanding diyan. This is not about the interest of the people. It is not about crafting laws."

Also, Kapunan questioned why pork scam whistleblower Benhur Luy and others are enjoying their freedom and can speak without any fear of facing criminal charges compared to Napoles.

"This is purely politics. Our only weapon here is to tell the truth. And Mrs. Napoles here is the victim," Kapunan said.

Kapunan said the right venue is the court and under the law, if the investigating committee of the Senate will summon a particular person, the chair must have a specific purpose for inviting the person "and this should always be in aid of legislation."

The lawyer assured that Napoles will never use her illness or hospitalization alibi to evade the senate invitation.

When asked for comment, Blue Ribbon committee chair Teofisto Guingona III shrugged off the accusations of Kapunan against his committee.

In an interview, Guingona said it is understandable for the lawyer of Napoles to make such statement being the counsel of the accused.

He said in aid of legislation, the Senate needs to craft laws and policies to ensure that budget will not be misappropriated and the need to craft laws could be determined as the hearing progresses.

Guingona also said he is determined to pursue with the investigation insisting that the Constitution itself dictates that the Senate has the jurisdiction to conduct investigation in aid of legislation.

"Come rain or shine, thunder and lightning, we will push through with our investigation. Let us remember that we are talking here of the people's money. This not about self promotion. Stealing the money of the Filipino people is not a simple matter. As an elected senator, it is my duty to defend the people and their money," Guingona said. (Jun M. Sarmiento/Sunnex)

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