Drilon signs subpoena for Napoles-A A +A
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
MANILA -- Suspected pork barrel scam architect Janet Napoles may soon testify before the Senate on the controversy after Senate President Franklin Drilon decided on Wednesday to sign the subpoena compelling her attendance.
Drilon earlier refused to sign the subpoena in deference to the advice of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, who said the inquiry may affect the fact-finding evaluation of the plunder cases filed against Napoles and lawmakers in relation to the alleged multi-billion peso scam.
But Morales said it depends on the Senate if it will heed her advice.
Drilon said his decision to sign the subpoena had the support of Senate President Pro-Tempore Senator Ralph Recto, Majority Leader Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, and Senator Teofisto Guingona III, chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee, whom he met earlier in the day.
This action, however, pre-empted the Senate’s stand on the issue, which should have been discussed in a caucus last Monday if not for the absence of some senators. The meeting pushed through on Wednesday.
"With this decision, let me emphasize that the Senate remains committed to the orderly administration of justice. We have a functioning justice system that will clear the innocent and punish the guilty," said Drilon in a speech during the session, adding he was never and will never be a part of a plan to stop the Senate from getting into the bottom of the scam.
"As the head of this institution, I must lead in restoring the confidence of our people in the Senate. All my life, I have always adhered to the rule of law. All my life, it has always been about justice," he said.
The Senate will not shirk from its responsibility of knowing the truth, he said, even if some of its members are allegedly involved in the diversion of priority development assistance fund (PDAF) to Napoles' fake non-government organizations (NGOs).
Senator Ramon Revilla Jr., who once called Napoles in her nickname Jenny, earlier challenged the Senate leadership to summon the businesswoman as he maintained his innocence.
"Ensuring that justice is upheld will always be the priority of this administration and that is the reason why we are now working towards holding accountable those who have taken advantage of the loopholes in the system," said Drilon.
Drilon's turnaround was welcomed by Senators Vicente Sotto III and Jinggoy Estrada, who was also charged with plunder in connection with the scam.
"I hope she bares everything," said Estrada.
The other senator facing a similar case is Juan Ponce Enrile. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)