Enrile inhibits self from Senate hearing on pork barrel scam-A A +A
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
SENATE Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, one of the senators dragged in the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam, decided to inhibit on Tuesday from the blue ribbon committee investigation.
"I will not attend the senate investigation. I will totally inhibit myself from the blue ribbon investigation yet I will welcome Napoles testimony," Enrile said after Senate President Franklin Drilon signed the subpoena issued to the pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.
In an ambush interview, Enrile said he will allow his colleagues in the Senate to do their homework and will not dip his finger in the investigation.
"What will be, will be. I will allow them to ferret out the truth," Enrile was quoted as saying.
Two other senators, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr., were also linked in the pork barrel scandal. The alleged scam pointed Napoles as the mastermind while some lawmakers allegedly used their pork barrel to fund bogus non-government organizations' (NGOs) ghost projects.
The Commission on Audit earlier reported that millions of Enrile's priority development assistance funds (PDAF) were transferred to NGOs by implementing agencies such as the National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor) and the National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC).
Enrile said the COA report was misleading because some P325 million attributed to him as part of his PDAF were actually projects of various legislators who requested for his endorsement.
Enrile said he will not interfere with his fellow senators and doesn't care at all if Napoles will appear and speak before the Senate panel.
The senator also cautioned Napoles and her lawyer saying her appearance and testimony can be used against her considering that there is an ongoing case filed at the office of the Ombudsman.
"If I were her lawyer I will not allow her to testify. May kaso na nga siya di ba? I’m speaking as a lawyer and not as a politician, I would caution her about her appearance or attendance precisely because there is an indictment against her," he said.
"But if she decides to appear, I will welcome that. Inasmuch as I have inhibited myself from participating in the ongoing investigation," Enrile said.
Enrile also said she can also invoke her bill of rights, and her lawyers should be aware of how to protect her client.
But senators Estrada and Revilla opposed Enrile's suggestion.
Revilla said it is better for Napoles to spill everything and tell what she knows.
Estrada for his part encouraged Napoles and the whistleblower to tell what they know before the public.
"Mas maige na sabihin nila lahat ng nalalaman nila para tapos na. Mas maganda na marinig ng taumbayan ang katotohanan," Estrada said.
COA bared that P6.2 billion worth of PDAF from 2007 to 2009 sourced from Enrile, Revilla and Estrada were transferred to 82 NGOs, which were either bogus or non-existent. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)