Senators to DOJ: Make public Napoles’ sworn affidavit-A A +A
Thursday, April 24, 2014
MANILA - Senators urged Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Thursday to make public the sworn affidavit of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles to remove speculations on the real identities of senators allegedly involved in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (Pdaf) scam.
Senate Majority Leader Senator Alan Peter Cayetano said for the sake of the Senate as an institution, de Lima should expose right away the affidavit made by Napoles, which according to reports implicate 12 to 19 senators.
"Bakit dapat itago ito. The people are waiting to know the truth," Cayetano said. The senator from Pateros expressed dismay on the pronouncement of Senate Blue Ribbon committee chairperson Senator Teofisto Guingona III to wait until de Lima finishes documenting the supposed disclosure of Napoles, the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind.
Guingona said his committee has opted to take the prudent course and will wait until de Lima will give them the final go signal.
"We will wait for Secretary de Lima to finish documenting the supposed disclosure of Janet Lim-Napoles. Upon receipt of the affidavit of Janet Lim-Napoles by the Blue Ribbon Committee, the same will be evaluated before we make the final decision," Guingona said.
Cayetano said the Blue Ribbon committee can even conduct the hearing inside the Ospital ng Makati, where Napoles is presently confined. Napoles underwent surgery on Wednesday where her ovaries and uterus were removed.
"Kung hindi pa comfortable si Mrs. Napoles ay pwede naman sigurong puntahan natin ito para marinig mismo ng taong bayan kung sino sino ang mga sinasabing sangkot pa at nakipag ugnayan sa kanya gamit ang pera ng taumbayan," said Cayetano.
It was Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago who formally asked the Blue Ribbon committee to reopen the inquiry on the alleged pork barrel scam and to summon Napoles after the latter expressed her intention to cooperate and tell everything that she knows on the supposed anomaly.
Cayetano appealed to Napoles to tell everything right away and to present all the supporting evidence that will pin down those who are part of the said scam.
"We should not wait. It is our obligation to the people to tell them the truth. It is our obligation to let the people know who are those legislators conniving and transacting with Napoles using the money of the people," Cayetano said.
Cayetano added that Napoles should not be allowed to go scot-free. The senator said the law is very clear on those who commit crimes against the government, specifically using the money of the Filipino people.
"Hindi porke nagsalita na siya ng konti ay wala na siyang pananagutan para sa tao. Dapat siyang managot, magsoli ng pera at higit sa lahat ay magsalita ng katotohanan," Cayetano said.
According to reports, de Lima said Napoles corroborated in her tell-all the whistleblowers' testimonies on the alleged involvement of Senators Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile in the supposed anomaly.
Napoles and the three senators are currently facing plunder charges before the Ombudsman for allegedly pocketing their Pdaf.
"Kailangan timbangin ng husto ng gobyerno kung dapat siyang maging state witness dahil parang hindi tama na ang ganuon kabigat ng kasalanan ay basta na lamang palalagpasin," Cayetano said.
Napoles is currently under detention while facing a serious illegal detention case filed by pork scam main whistleblower Benhur Luy.
Senator Francis Escudero said that it is a must that Napoles return the loot before the government will consider her to become state witness. Escudero said it is time that Napoles release all the list of those who are in cahoots with her in the last years using the money of the people.
The senator said he is not worried at all, saying that even the Commission on Audit made clear that he never issued any of his Pdaf to non-government organizations linked to Napoles.
Escudero admitted he doubts the credibility of Napoles considering the timing of her revelation.
"Pagkatapos na sampahan na siya ng kasong plunder bigla nagsalita samantalang nuon puro denial at under oath siyang nagsasalita sa blue ribbon," said Escudero.
Both Escudero and Cayetano urged the Department of Justice and former senator Panfilo Lacson to reveal the names of those senators for the sake of truth and fair play.
Senator Grace Poe and Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito aired the same view. Both Senators said they will support the call of their colleagues to make public the affidavit of Napoles.
"Dapat walang edit at hindi namimili ha. Kung talagang kapakanan ng taong bayan ang sinasabi natin. Kahit nasaan partido pa dapat makita kung sino sino ang mga ito," said Ejercito.
"Why hide things to the public. The people should know the truth. The DOJ must allow the people to know the alleged partners of Napoles" Poe said.
On Wednesday, former senator Lacson revealed that several legislators from the present and previous administrations have been implicated by Napoles in a draft affidavit that her family provided him.
Lacson said the names implicated in the pork barrel scam included at least 12 current and previous senators, many congressmen, and even Cabinet officials.
However, Senator Santiago questioned Lacson's motive insisting that the former senator is not credible enough and his statement is meant to complicate the case.
Santiago further said Lacson is only speaking up to prevent Napoles from naming Enrile as the scam mastermind. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)