Blue Ribbon receives Lacson’s Napoles list-A A +A
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
MANILA - Former senator and now Rehabilitation Czar Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday formally turned over to Senate Blue Ribbon committee chairman Teofisto Guingona III the unsigned list of Janet Napoles, which was given to him by Jimmy Napoles, the husband of the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind.
Guingona said he will make everything "open to the public" as he confirmed the reopening of the probe on the multi-billion peso barrel scam.
Guingona released those names being implicated, which include former and incumbent senators namely: Aquilino Pimentel, Robert Barbers (deceased), Loren Legarda, Vicente Sotto III, Gregorio Honasan, Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce-Enrile, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., Francis Escudero, Manuel Villar and Alan Peter Cayetano.
The list also includes members of the House of Representatives and officials of government agencies and several agents who worked for Napoles.
Earlier, Lacson said that he had a list of senators and officials who were involved in the pork barrel scam. He said there were enough senators to form a quorum, and gave 12 as the number.
Lacson, in his first announcement of the Napoles list, said that current and former senators were allegedly named as in cahoots with Napoles as well as several congressmen and even Cabinet level officials. He also mentioned officials in the budget department, officials from other departments and a senator who has gotten an even bigger pork barrel kickback, which Lacson refused to further elaborate.
Senator Escudero, whose name appeared in Napoles' list welcomed the move of Lacson in submitting to the powerful Blue Ribbon committee the controversial list.
"I cannot speak for my other colleagues, my position is clear, Make all the list public. The list must be made public because the longer it is kept hidden, the more suspicion will arise. What we must remember is that Napoles whose scam was grave, as the public money was stolen. We should also know what is true and what is bogus," he said.
Escudero said he is confident that this move is all propaganda against him by Napoles as he assured that not a single cent was given to any of Napoles fake non-government Organizations.
"Wala akong ina-allocate, maski na piso, na PDAF o anumang pondo sa NGO ni Napoles, wala rin akong pinakinabangan mula sa kanya," he said.
Escudero also questioned the motive of Napoles for using Lacson, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Sandra Cam, saying there is something fishy for the questionable move of Napoles, which he said is obviously to muddle the issue.
"Ang tanong ko ay ito. Galing ang mga naglilipanang listahan kay Napoles, bakit ba nagsisilbing tagapagsalita, messenger, ahente itong mga taong ginagamit nila, imbes na sila mismo ang maglabas, ginamit si Secretary Lacson na siya ang magsalita. Binigay kay Secretary De Lima, para tuloy nanggagaling kay Secretary De Lima at si Sandra Cam. Sana huwag magpadala, magpagamit ang mga taong ito para magulo, ma-muddle at malihis ang isyu palayo dito kina Napoles," Escudero said.
Escudero said it is obvious that Napoles is into a game and the game, he said, is to confuse the Filipino people. He also questioned why Napoles instructed Lacson, de Lima and Cam not to reveal it right away to the public.
"Bakit hindi? Ang instruction sa kanilang tatlo, huwag nyong ilalabas. Una bakit sila sumunod. Pangalawa eh parang lumalabas tuloy na pumapasok sila sa estratehiya at taktika na habang tinatago mo ang isang bagay, lalo tuloy nagugutom at nagiging curious ang tao at nagmumukhang totoo na tuloy bigla lahat ng nakalagay doon," Escudero added.
Senate Majority Alan Peter Cayetano, who was also included in the Lacson's version of the Napoles list, described the move as "Napoles weapon of mass distraction."
Cayetano said the motive of Napoles is simple and that is to distract the people and confuse the issue.
"Distraction because dini-distract niya and tao para ma-confuse at para mawala sa kanya ang focus, tumagal ang kaso at mapawalang sala sila by 2016 kung manalo ang candidato nila.Destruction dahil gusto niyang magiba, ma-destroy ang mga kumakalaban sa kanya at sa mga kasabwat niya. Si Napoles lang at mga kasabwat niya ang nakikinabang sa gulong ito," Cayetano said.
Cayetano further explained that Napoles is just buying time and waiting for Vice President Jejomar Binay to become the next President.
He urged the Aquino administration to come out with the complete listing of Special Allotment Release Order (Saro) and all the documents from the Department of Budget and Management, the Commission on Audit and those government agencies that will show who really among the lawmakers have been dealing with Napoles and her fake NGOs.
"Dapat ilabas ng gobyerno ang lahat ng Saro, lahat ng dokumento, lahat ng request letters. It's the choice of the government. Choice ito ng Aquino administration kung gusto nila ang larong hulaan sa listahan o kung gusto nila, labasan ng katotohanan. Dapat humarap na si Secretary De Lima at si Napoles mismo para ilabas na ng katotohanan," Cayetano said as he urged de Lima to come out with a signed affidavit executed by Napoles herself.
"I have nothing to do with Napoles. I have never met her. Ni singko, wala kaming nilagay sa any business niya o kaya NGO niya," Cayetano insisted.
Senate President Franklin Drilon expressed support to Escudero and Cayetano, saying the allegations of Napoles must be supported with proper documents and evidence.
Drilon said the motive of Napoles is seemingly designed for the 2016 elections as he raised the possibility of Napoles conniving again with some political operators.
"That was just a list. Simula pa lang, sinabi ko na payag ako na ilabas ang listahan, ngunit dapat naman ay may karapat-dapat na suporta. Kung wala itong suporta, yaan ay listahan lamang. Ingatan natin, malapit na ang halalan at marami ang mga political operators na gustong maghanap buhay," Drilon said.
The Senate Chief said it is just proper to allow those names being implicated to answer the allegations and to challenge the Napoles list insisting that the credibility of these senators are at stake and the accusations must be supported by evidence.
"Maingatan sana ang mga reputasyon ng mga kasamahan natin na on the line, and give them opportunity to defend themselves. But I assure you as the Senate President, we will follow the rule of law," Drilon added.
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, for her part, said she wants whistleblower Benhur Luy's list to be obtained also because she believes it is complete with supporting documents.
"I am pushing to get the list of Benhur Luy. I understand that the Luy list is substantiated by documents and details," Santiago said.
Senator Sergio Osmena III, meanwhile, said he will only listen to Justice Secretary de Lima's Napoles list.
"That is the only one that matters because it has been signed and sworn to by Napoles." Osmena III said.
"That's the one attested and signed; that’s the valid one. Anybody else's list is not sworn to," he said. “If I want to invent a list I can write one now," he added.
"Evidence is evidence and first you must have personal knowledge. It has to come from Napoles herself and it can be verified by people like whistleblower Benhur Luy and Ruby Tuason," Osmeña said.
He however did not discount the other list that is in the hands of former senator Lacson, saying that they will have to ask Napoles to look at Lacson's list.
"We want to take a look at Lacson list to see if it bears much, little, or no resemblance to Napoles list," Osmeña said.
"When we ask Napoles to testify, we will also show her the Lacson list and say 'there are some names here that are not in the other list so which is which?' and let her clarify," he said. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)