Congressional probe sought on Napoles’ list

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

CONGRESSIONAL investigation has been sought on an alleged Janet Napoles' list of lawmakers and government officials who allegedly benefited from the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

Navotas City Representative Toby Tiangco filed House Resolution 1082 urging the House of Representatives to compel Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to fully disclose the names of lawmakers and government officials who are allegedly included in the so-called "Napoles Black Book".

Tiangco, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) secretary general, said that the continued non-disclosure of the Napoles' List by the de Lima has put on the line the integrity of the affidavit and makes every lawmaker a suspect in the malversation of the multi-billion peso PDAF scam.

"There is a compelling need for the House of Representatives to protect the integrity of every member by conducting an investigation and directing the Justice Secretary to disclose the Affidavit of Mrs. Napoles containing the names of lawmakers and government officials identified by Mrs. Napoles in her sworn statement," Tiangco said.

He said that if the Aquino administration is serious in its campaign to rid the government of graft and corruption, it must take concrete steps in castigating even administration allies who have misused government funds.

"Dapat hindi naghuhugas ng kamay ang administrasyon at hayaan na lang si Secretary De Lima kung kailan nya gusto ilabas ang listahan… Malacanang likewise needs to act on it and require Secretary de Lima to release the list for the sake of transparency and accountability," the lawmaker said.

Tiangco noted that the more the DOJ withholds information and delays the release of the affidavit "only holds the entire legislature politically hostage and the Aquino administration somewhat impotent."

Earlier, de Lima said the Senate has constitutional power to compel her to release the list but appealed for the senators' understanding against the disclosure, saying that it was premature to disclose the contents of Napoles' testimony as the businesswoman has yet to complete her story.

The supposed Napoles list contains nearly 100 names of lawmakers, both past and present, said jueteng whistleblower Sandra Cam.

Meanwhile, Tiangco's colleague in the Minority bloc is urging the House to compel Napoles to fully disclose the names of lawmakers and government officials who are allegedly in the list.

"If the Senate cannot do it [revealing the list], we [at the lower chamber] can do it," House Minority Leader Ronalado Zamora said.

The San Juan City lawmaker said that the continued non-disclosure of the list has put on the line the integrity of the affidavit of Napoles.

"We want not just Secretary de Lima to produce the list we want Mrs. Napoles to produce the list so it is in fact authentic. No sanitizing walang dagdag, walang bawas. The objective is to get the whole truth," Zamora said.

The former executive secretary of the Estrada administration added that "the best thing to do really is just to show it and let everybody who will be named to give him a chance to explain his side than everybody is under a cloud of doubt."

Also, ACT Teachers party-list Representative Antonio Tinio noted that the disclosure of the list will also stop the speculation that there are names being deleted and added in the book.

Currently, the Napoles list is under the care of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who reiterated her appeal not to pressure her to disclose the names of those involved in the pork barrel scam.

It was reported last week that Napoles executed an affidavit before de Lima, allegedly identifying all the lawmakers and government officials with who she transacted throughout the years of her operation.

In the same news conference, 1-BAP party-list Representative Silvestre Bello III expressed doubts on the authenticity of the de Lima's list, saying that if Napoles book is reduce to an affidavit and signed by a notary public it is consider a public document.

"From the statement of Secretary de Lima when she said on a press con that she still had to validate the allegations of Mrs. Napoles, this implies that the allegations of Mrs. Napoles are not contained in an affidavit meaning a sworn statement… maliwanag dun kasi kung sworn statement na iyon at subscribed before an authorized officer public document na iyon so there is nothing to validate," Bello said. (Sunnex)

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