Senate blue ribbon committee wants to summon Napoles for questioning
by FFE PH News staff
After whistleblower Benhur Luy appeared in the Senate two weeks ago and detailed to the public how the pork barrel scam worked, the Senate blue ribbon committee now wants Janet Lim-Napoles herself to attend their hearing on Thursday, September 26.
Napoles is now dubbed the pork barrel scam queen.
However, Senate Secretary Oscar Yabes pointed our that procedural rules prohibits the Ombudsman to publicize the cases it is handling.
Yabes said that under the Ombudsman’s Rules of Procedure, “The Ombudsman may publicize in a fair and balanced manner the filing of a complaint… provided however that prior to such final action, no publicity shall be made of matters which may adversely affect national security or public interest, prejudice the safety of witnesses or the deposition of the case, or unduly expose persons complained against to ridicule or public censure.”
Senate President Franklin Drilon therefore said it is proper to first consult the latter on letting Napoles appear in the Committee. Drilon wrote Carpio Morales last Monday afternoon, seeking her opinion on the blue ribbon committee’s appeal.
“…The Ombudsman [has] to determine the confidentiality of the proceedings whether or not it can adversely affect the case. So, that is for the Ombudsman to determine,” Drilon said.
Drilon stressed in his letter the need for the Ombudsman’s immediate reply on the issue.
“Given the proximity of the scheduled hearing on Thursday, your immediate response will be deeply appreciated,” Drilon said.
As the Senate President, Drilon’s signature is needed for the subpeona.
The Office of the Ombudsman is currently handling the complaint filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) against 38 individuals, including Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla, and Jinggoy Estrada, on the pork barrel scam.
Senators Teofisto Guingona III, the chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, and Francis Escudero both stressed that Napoles’ testimony is crucial.
“The appearance of Ms. Napoles in the Blue Ribbon hearing is important to our investigation as the Filipinos are looking for answers that may shed light to some issues at hand,” Guingona said.
However, Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said in a letter to Guingona that the Ombudsman now has a jurisdiction over the case after the plunder complaint was filed.
Napoles is currently detained at a police camp in Laguna for a separate serious illegal detention case. She was arraigned at the Makati Regional Trial Court last Monday.