Senate mulls reopening of ‘pork’ scam probe-A A +A
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
MANILA – The Senate Blue Ribbon committee is mulling to reopen the investigation into the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam once the digital files of whistleblower Benhur Luy will be submitted to the panel.
"No reopening yet until all the documents are complete," said Senator Teofisto Guingona III, the chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee on Monday.
Guingona said he presumed affidavits of alleged scam mastermind Janet-Lim Napoles are complete.
He said both affidavits of Napoles and Luy will be evaluated and that there will be a consultation first among members of the Blue Ribbon before they will finally make a final decision on the possible reopening.
The files, which supposedly contain the names of scam conspirators, will be forwarded by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to the Senate on Wednesday.
Guingona also confirmed that Napoles will again be invited to testify.
"The invitation of the Blue Ribbon will be based on the affidavit issued by Napoles. Normal procedure na po na 'pag may affidavit kailangan imbitahan ang nag isyu nito," Guingona said.
The 30-page affidavit contained names of senators and other lawmakers as well as government head and various departments in the government.
Below are the signed affidavits:
Guingona said he had no option but to release to the media the two affidavits for the sake of fair play and transparency.
"Kung di ko ilalabas, magagalit sa akin. Kung ilalabas ko, magagalit din sa akin. I'm in a hard position," he said.
Earlier, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima requested that Napoles' affidavit be kept confidential. The affidavit is the same document the Napoles camp intends to submit to the Ombudsman in Napoles' application as a state witness.
Citing Section 7 of Republic Act 6981 or the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act, de Lima stressed the need for confidentiality which is part of the proceedings.
The affidavit contained additional names of legislators that include former senator and now Muntinlupa Representative Rodolfo Biazon, former senator Loi Estrada, former senator Robert Jaworski, former senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr., former senator Ramon "Jun" Magsaysay, Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, former senator Tessie Aquino-Oreta and Senator Cynthia Villar.
"As I’ve said from day one, I never met Ms. Napoles. I never spoke to her nor did I ever have any personal dealings with her," said Marcos in a statement.
He said his office is willing to cooperate with the concerned government agencies "so we may all get to the bottom of this.”
Pimentel, who served in the Senate from 1998 to 2010, also denied in a television interview on Tuesday that he had dealings with Napoles or any of her group. (Camille P. Balagtas/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)