Quantcast
Napoles
Latest Stories

Senate pork probe to invite bank manager

By ,

Sen. Francis Escudero: Sub judice rule was never followed. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The filing of plunder charges against three senators in connection with the P10-billion pork barrel scam won’t stop the Senate blue ribbon committee from pursuing its probe of the racket.

“The sub judice rule was never followed by the Senate in previous hearings,” Sen. Francis Escudero told reporters a day after the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed the charges against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr.

Escudero said Justice Secretary Leila de Lima committed to the blue ribbon panel to submit the whistle-blowers’ affidavits that the DOJ had used in filing the criminal information in the Sandiganbayan.

“On top of that, we also invited the manager of Napoles’ bank, who after she retired became an auditor in the JLN group of companies. It is likely that we can get a lot of information if she will testify on the modus operandi of JLN,” Escudero said.

Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, chair of the blue ribbon committee, has asked the authorities for Napoles to appear before the panel, Escudero said.

It was Escudero who filed the resolution seeking the inquiry into the alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) over the past decade.

“[The Senate inquiry] is perhaps needed even more because the probers appear to be tight-lipped as regards this matter. They didn’t even give actual copies of the affidavits to the public and to the media,” he said.

“They will make representation with the court. The invitation will be sent to the PNP and the PNP will ask permission from the court if she could attend,” Escudero said.

“If she’s ordered by the court to appear, because she’s already under the custody of the court and of the PNP, she has no choice but to appear here,” he added.

In the House of Representatives, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said the chamber would fully cooperate and provide all necessary documents in the investigation of legislators accused of pocketing up to 50 percent of their PDAF-funded projects.

Belmonte said he would not let his personal ties with anyone affect the probe.

“I promise to give full cooperation to them in terms of records. I will provide 100 percent cooperation. Friendships aside, this is really a blot on all of us. It is necessary for the sake of the institution that we cooperate with the authorities,” Belmonte told reporters.

Five former members of the House, but no incumbent representatives, were included in the first batch of plunder and malversation cases the DOJ filed in the Office of the Ombudsman on Monday.

Napoles appearance

Escudero said the committee was still working on having Janet Lim-Napoles, alleged mastermind of the scam, appear before the blue ribbon committee.

Napoles is detained at a Philippine National Police antiterrorism training school in Sta. Rosa City in Laguna, for the alleged illegal detention of Benhur Luy, the principal whistle-blower.

On whether the lawmakers implicated in the scam would be named in the committee hearing despite the charges in the Office of the Ombudsman, Escudero said, “That’s what [Justice] Secretary De Lima said. They just wanted the cases to be filed first.”

De Lima allowed Luy to testify in the Senate last week on the condition that he would not name any of the legislators involved. De Lima asked the senators to just wait for the filing of formal charges.

Luy said certain lawmakers got 50 percent of the funds allotted for projects financed by their PDAF, the official name of the pork barrel that funds pet projects of members of Congress.

“If you recall, the case of Major General Garcia (Carlos Garcia, the former Armed Forces comptroller accused of pocketing millions of pesos in kickbacks) was already in the plea bargaining stage before the Sandiganbayan, and yet the Senate continued its investigation,” Escudero said.

Expose the guilty

Vindicate the innocent and expose the guilty, said Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano as he led the chamber in prayer a day after the DOJ filed the charges.

“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out. Proverbs 10:9,” Cayetano said on the floor.

“Lord Father God, it is only you who knows the truth and the whole truth as we plead to you as a nation and as we lift up to you our nation we ask that you vindicate those who are innocent and to make found out those who are guilty,” Cayetano added.

Estrada complained that he and the other lawmakers “are portrayed every day in the headlines of the newspapers as if we are really guilty. As far as I’m concerned I’m innocent.”

‘Be patient’

Estrada said his father, former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, told him that the situation he was in would eventually pass.

“[He told me to] just be patient,” Estrada quoted his father as saying.

“My mother, on the other hand, told me to hold on to the Lord. You know my mother is quite religious. Especially when I was detained before at Veterans’ [Memorial Medical Center], she always gives me novena prayers,” Estrada added.

Estrada’s mother, Luisa Ejercito-Estrada, was a former senator.

The young Estrada was previously charged with plunder in 2001 but was acquitted.

Acknowledging that the controversy had put a stain on legislators, Belmonte said helping the Office of the Ombudsman, Commission on Audit and the Department of Justice in the investigation would benefit Congress as an institution.

He said only a handful of the nearly 300 House members had been implicated and most of them “handle their PDAF very well to the satisfaction of the people.”

But Belmonte said he was troubled by those who have had repeated questionable transactions involving their pork barrel.

“I’m really concerned about people who repeatedly do it because it’s very hard for them to claim good faith. If it happened to you one time, especially if another friend said ‘That’s OK, maybe you could be innocent,” he said.

“But if you repeatedly do it… of course you come to a different conclusion,” he added.

Belmonte said he had not talked recently with any of the former lawmakers included in the complaint, but he said he was ready to lend a sympathetic ear if ever they tried to talk to him. Still, he will let the wheels of justice turn, he said.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Bank manager , Congress , Janet Lim Napoles , Philippines , pork barrel scam , pork probe , Probe , Senate




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  6. DOJ to NBI: Arrest Cedric Lee, 4 others
  7. Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  8. Estrada, Gigi Reyes denied access to evidence from other respondents
  9. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  10. DOJ orders arrest of Cedric Lee
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  3. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  4. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  5. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
Advertisement

News

  • Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  • Drilon, Nancy Binay urge Filipinos to strengthen faith
  • ‘Yolanda’ toll now at 6,300 – NDRRMC
  • ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  • Moderate earthquake jolts southern Iran
  • Sports

  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Durant has 42, Thunder beat Pistons 112-111
  • Walker leads Bobcats over Bulls in OT, 91-86
  • Man City slips further out of title contention
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • Business

  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Technology

  • Netizens seething in anger over Aquino ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement