Senate asked: Compel Napoles to testify on list
MANILA, Philippines – Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano has asked the Senate Blue Ribbon committee to compel alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles to testify before the Senate and produce a controversial list of lawmakers and other government officials she implicated in the scam.
In a letter dated May 6 but received on Monday, May 12, Cayetano asked Blue Ribbon committee chairman Senator TG Guingona III to subpoena the controversial Napoles list, which is part of an affidavit in the possession of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
Cayetano also asked the committee to order De Lima and Napoles to tesify before the Senate.
"The production of the documents and the testimony of these individuals before the Committee would shed light on reports on the alleged involvement of additional legislators in the scam as well as other scams in government," the Senate Majority Leader said in his request.
The pork barrel scam is the biggest corruption scandal in the country in recent years, and a government probe into it has led to the filing of plunder complaints before the Ombudsman against public officials led by 3 opposition senators - Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr.
Napoles, the alleged mastermind, has been detained but is still confined at the Ospital ng Makati after a surgery.
Late April, Napoles expressed her intention to come clean on the issue, during a meeting with De Lima in her hospital room. The list has yet to be released, since the justice department is still vetting Napoles' claims, said De Lima.
De Lima earlier appealed to the Senate to wait for the proper time for the release of the so-called Napoles list. She has acknowleged however that the Senate has the power to compel the release of the list as part of its power to conduct formal inquiries or investigations in aid of legislation.
"By law and Constitution, yes, the Senate can compel me to disclose the list, under pain of contempt. But I will appeal to them to wait for the proper time and give me enough space to discharge my mandated tasks with utmost responsibility," De Lima earlier said.
Also privy to the list is former senator and rehabilization czar Panfilo Lacson, who has since said he would turn over his version of the list to De Lima.
Cayetano also wants the following subpoenaed: the "special allotment release orders, notices of cash allocations, Commission on Audit (COA) reports and supporting documents, and all other documents relevant to its investigation into the P10 billion pork barrel scam."
The majority leader noted that the documents are in the possession of the COA, Department of Budget and Management, Agriculture Department, and the Department of Agrarian Reform.
Guingona earlier said he would call a caucus on Monday, May 12, regarding the controversial list. – Rappler.com