Senate wants access to Napoles list-A A +A
Monday, May 12, 2014
SENATOR Teofisto Guingona III has signed a subpoena for the list prepared by detained businesswoman Janet Napoles that named her conspirators in the pork barrel scam.
In a statement on Monday, Guingona said the Senate blue ribbon committee under his chairmanship will formally invite Napoles and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to a hearing.
"Since it's a subpoena, I will comply," de Lima said in a text message.
A Dagupan City-based lawyer, meanwhile, turned to the Supreme Court (SC) to order de Lima to reveal the list.
In his petition, lawyer Napoleon Arenas, Jr., said de Lima has no power and authority to withhold its publication as it violates the right of the public to access to public documents and information.
"She cannot even claim as 'work in progress' or 'under criminal investigation' or 'part of the vetting process' and its publication would jeopardize the ongoing investigation on the pork barrel scam and may create ‘mayhem’. On the contrary, the most prudent thing to do under the circumstances is to publish the list and let the people decide on its veracity," he said.
Earlier, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano urged the release of Napoles list and production of the records and documents, including but not limited to, Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs), Notices of Cash Allocations (NSAs), COA audit reports and supporting documents relevant to the investigation of the anomaly.
Cayetano said that the production of the documents and the testimony of de Lima and Napoles before the committee would shed light on reports on the alleged involvement of additional legislators in the misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) as well as other scams in government.
"Furthermore, this would create and or restore the climate of confidence in our institution-- that we have stayed faithful for our unfettered search for the truth and have stayed on the course, without fear or favor in the fight against graft and corruption," Cayetano said.
Senate President Franklin Drilon is confident that the President would not invoke executive privilege in order to prevent the disclosure of the Napoles list.
“I don’t think that he will ask for executive privilege. This whole scandal is brought in the open because of the policy of the President towards transparency, of not tolerating corruption,” Drilon said, noting that if Aquino's goal was to cover up the truth, "he would have done so a long time ago.”
“I attribute this ongoing cleansing process to the resolve of President Aquino to curb corruption. It was President himself who ordered that we shall bring this case to where the evidence will take us, regardless of who gets hurt,” he said.
Meanwhile, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, member of the Senate blue ribbon committee, asked Guingona to request whistleblower Benhur Luy to testify on his own list, said to include 200 people, who allegedly received kickbacks from Napoles, the scam's alleged mastermind.
Santiago said that only the Luy list would be “definitive and substantiated,” as compared to what she called “spurious documents inadmissible in evidence” claimed by Napoles, rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson, and jueteng whistleblower Sandra Cam.
"The President (Benigno Aquino III) reportedly expressed the suspicion that certain quarters are trying to crowd the issue. This supports my humble claim for the Luy list,” she said.
Luy’s parents allegedly went to a national newspaper (Inquirer) last year and submitted a hard drive reportedly containing the complete files of Benhur as finance officer of Napoles.
Through his lawyer Raji Mendoza, Luy apparently expressed consent to the release of the records which were originally stored in a laptop.
The incriminatory laptop was submitted to Napoles as the price for allowing his family to see Luy, when he was detained by Napoles.
However, unknown to Napoles, Luy allegedly made a backup file on his hard drive detailing each lawmaker and other public officials, and the amount of kickbacks they individually received.
According to the newspaper that broke the story on Monday, it copied the files in the hard drive which contains the list of people who allegedly received money from Napoles.
The list included “lawmakers, department heads, a former Supreme Court justice, popular media personalities, heads of government-owned and -controlled, corporations, government employees of various agencies, local government officials, lawyers, military officials, showbiz personalities, employees of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and private individuals.”
Santiago, a former RTC judge, said that in addition to testimonial knowledge, the Luy list would be admissible in evidence as allowed by the Rules of Court.
She also said that the Luy list could be admitted as “commercial lists and the like, which are considered admissible,” as tending to prove the truth of any relevant matter.
Santiago said that all other self-proclaimed lists from Napoles, Lacson, and Cam were "likely fictional and polluted,” because they appear to be sourced from one or all of the three senators (Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr.) indicted by the Ombudsman for plunder.
Santiago further said that each of the three claimants with his or her own version of a list could be acting as attack dogs of the indicted senators. (Virgil Lopez/Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)