Guingona on hearing on pork barrel scam: 'No script'-A A +A
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
(UPDATED) The Senate Blue Ribbon committee chairperson Senator Teofisto Guingona III assured that the investigation on Janet Lim-Napoles will not be scripted and the hearing will be spontaneous and transparent.
"I am hopeful that the truth will come out. I want everything to be transparent. Napoles can invoke her constitutional right. She can also confirm or repudiate statements by the whistleblowers. But definitely no script. Kailangan marinig natin 'yung totoo," said Guingona in a radio interview Wednesday.
Guingona said that although they will recognize Napoles constitutional right to invoke her right against self incrimination, the senator explained that this right cannot be used all the time as a shield against all queries.
The senator said this blanket protection is limited, "and the truth will find a way to reveal itself." He expressed confidence that Napoles and her cohorts will be revealed very soon.
"We will get to the bottom of the story and the truth behind the scam. Those who are behind the scam must be held accountable and should face the full force of the law," Guingona stressed.
"I'm very sure that she will be singing the right tune, the right song at the right time. Let's not jump the gun. Let us first listen to what she will say. Mahirap po natin pangunahan ang hindi pa nangyayari," Guingona said.
Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada whose names have been dragged in the controversy expressed different stands on whether or not they will attend the hearing.
Enrile said he will definitely inhibit himself from the ongoing investigation to give the panel all the opportunities to squeeze the truth of Napoles while Estrada said he is still weighing his options on whether or not he will attend the hearing.
But Guingona said they cannot force the senators to attend the hearing because they are entitled to a parliamentary immunity.
The three senators have been charged with plunder in the Office of the Ombudsman along with Napoles and 34 others in connection with the misuse of multi-billion peso funds in pork barrel funds over a 10-year period. Also charged were former officials and members of the House of Representatives.
When asked if the senior staff members of the lawmakers who reportedly received kickbacks and were used as conduits will also be invited, Guingona said they are still evaluating if they can invite the chiefs of staff and all the others.
Earlier, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the Blue Ribbon committee should also consider summoning the staff members of senators in order to get a complete picture of the PDAF scam.
De Lima was referring to Enrile's former chief of staff, lawyer Lucille Jessica "Gigi" Reyes, and a certain Ruby Chan Tuason, whose principal is unknown.
Other staff members of senators allegedly involved in the PDAF scam include Revilla's chief political adviser Richard Cambe, Enrile's deputy chief of staff Jose Antonio Evangelista and Estrada’s deputy chief of staff Pauline Labayen. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)