Ombudsman maintains opposition to Napoles’ appearance in Senate probe-A A +A
Monday, September 30, 2013
OMBUDSMAN Conchita Carpio-Morales left to the Senate whether it would heed her advice not to allow alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles to appear in the chamber’s probe on the controversy.
“That the Senate is supreme in its own sphere was never meant to be challenged. I thus submit to the collective wisdom of its members,” Morales said in a letter to Senate President Franklin Drilon dated September 27.
Drilon sought Morales’ guidance anew when Senate blue ribbon committee chairman Teofisto Guingona III asked him to reconsider his decision not to sign the subpoena for Napoles.
The Senate President agreed with the Ombudsman’s position that Napoles’ testimony may adversely affect public interest and prejudice the safety of witnesses or the disposition of cases against her and fellow respondents.
In the same letter, Morales said she is not inclined to change her mind on the issue.
Senator Sergio Osmeña III, blue ribbon committee vice chairperson, left to Drilon and Guingona to break the impasse.
“Senator Guingona has the power, and the Senate has the right... but the Ombudsman also has good reasons to ask the Senate not to... So, it's Senate President Drilon who finds himself on the spot now. What I would rather is that they talk it over among themselves. Like I said, even if we are able to call Napoles, I doubt if she will open her mouth,” he told reporters.
Drilon earlier said that “prudence and caution” guided his decision not to summon Napoles, currently detained for allegedly keeping whistleblower Benhur Luy against his will for three months.
Luy and five other whistleblowers testified in the Senate last week regarding Napoles’ racket of using fake non-government organizations (NGOs) to pocket pork barrel and Malampaya gas funds. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)