Editorial: Pressuring de Lima

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Monday, May 5, 2014

SANDRA CAM was once a whistle-blower in a high-profile case already resolved years ago by the court. Now she is back in the limelight waving a supposed list of lawmakers linked to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

But when asked who the source of the list was, Cam refused to give any name but merely said her source is “highly reliable.” She wasn’t asked, of course, how reliable this “highly reliable” was. And nobody is questioning Cam’s own “reliability” as leaker of sensitive information.

But that Cam is being listened to only means that the public is really eager to know the contents of the sworn statement of Janet Lim-Napoles that includes a list of the people she links to the PDAF scam.


That sworn statement is in the hands of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who is validating the information Napoles provided before divulging the names in the list.

That’s a good move in terms of ensuring objectivity and fairness but bad because of the lack of transparency.

With calls for her to divulge the names growing, and with people like Cam waving their own lists, de Lima’s stance has gone untenable by the day. Either she has to divulge the names now or she and the Department of Justice (DOJ) should speed up the validation process.

De Lima herself admitted that she may not be able to keep the list under wraps for long. That is, if the Senate will compel her to divulge its contents.

“By law and the Constitution, yes, the Senate can compel me to disclose the list, under pain of contempt,” she told reporters yesterday. Even then, she asked the Senate to “wait for the proper time” and to give her “enough space” to discharge her task.

So the Senate may be the way to go if De Lima and the DOJ won’t fast-track the validation of Napoles’s sworn statement.

Senate President Franklin Drilon has said that he is not stopping any member from the Senate to call for the reopening of the Senate probe into the PDAF scam. The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee can then hold new hearings and compel de Lima to divulge the names in the list.

But will any of the senators do that?

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 06, 2014.


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