Trillanes, Santiago ask Blue Ribbon to summon Napoles-A A +A
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
This was the challenge raised by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV who also expressed the need for the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind, Janet Lim-Napoles, to face the Senate blue ribbon committee again, saying it is important to hear the names of the senators straight from the mouth of Napoles herself.
In a press conference Wednesday, Trillanes said Napoles must also present all the proper evidence that will serve as her proof against senators allegedly conniving with her.
"We are after the bigger picture here. Who are the senators involved here and what is the real story. It is time for her to present the evidence and narrate to us the circumstances. I would expect her to present the evidence for the sake of fair play to those senators whose name will be mentioned," Trillanes said.
At the same time, Trillanes urged Napoles to return the loot, "after all, it is the money of the Filipino people."
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago wrote Senator Teofisto Guingona III asking the Blue Ribbon committee chairperson to prioritize re-inviting or summoning Napoles to its inquiry on the alleged anomaly.
"I believe that there are strong reasons based on the Constitution and the Senate Rules, for recalling Ms. Napoles to the witness stand," Santiago said in her letter.
Santiago said it is vital at this point of time for Napoles to face the probe in order to know the truth from her on the issue involving the three senators and their involvement in the scam as well as those other senators who were reportedly linked also in the said scam.
Santiago said that it is alarming to note that many senators benefited from the anomaly.
Last November, Napoles appeared before the Blue Ribbon committee but refused to cooperate as she continuously invoked her right against self-incrimination.
She also denied all the claims of whistleblower Benhur Luy and the other witnesses. She also denied ordering Luy and other whistleblowers to form foundations to be used for the alleged anomaly. She also denied receiving kickbacks from the supposed scam.
Senator Sergio Osmena III, for his part, said the Blue Ribbon committee must first check the affidavit of Napoles.
He said Guingona as committee chairman must weigh things carefully before the senator makes any decision to reopen the probe.
If there is sufficient reason based on the new revelation of Napoles that other senators (past and present) were also transacting business with her, "then it is time that we hear her story and the truth behind this thing."
Both Trillanes and Osmena said they are confident that their names were not included in the list.
Senator Jinggoy Estrada meanwhile said he is ready to deal with his accusers and clear his name over corruption charges.
Estrada said Napoles has been pressured to pin him down and the two other colleagues, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr.
"I have no choice but to defend myself in the proper forum. I have no choice but to fight it out," Estrada said.
According to Estrada, the Department of Justice, specifically Secretary Leila de Lima, is the one forcing Napoles to pin him down as well as Revilla and Enrile.
De Lima earlier said Napoles offered herself as a state witness and vowed to "come clean" about the alleged anomaly.
De Lima also said that Napoles corroborated the whistleblowers' testimonies on the alleged involvement of Revilla, Estrada and Enrile in the supposed multi-billion peso PDAF anomaly.
But Trillanes said it will not be fair if the DOJ will recommend Napoles to be a state witness without any concrete basis.
"Even the public will demand for explanation. Speak the truth first. We want to hear from here and the legal basis for making her a state witness if ever," Trillanes said. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)