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Drilon decides to sign Napoles subpoena

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 03:35 PM October 16, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – Amid criticisms, Senate  President Franklin  Drilon announced on Wednesday his decision to  sign  the subpoena for Janet Lim-Napoles.

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“I have decided to sign the subpoena requested by Senator  Teofisto Guingona to require Janet  Lim-Napoles to appear before the Senate blue ribbon committee,” Drilon said when he took the floor immediately after the chamber  opened its session past 3 pm.

Guingona is chairman of the  blue ribbon committee investigating the alleged P10-billion “pork barrel” scam.

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Drilon’s decision was a turnaround  of his previous  position to defer to the   advice of Ombudsman  Conchita Carpio-Morales  that it would not be advisable  at this point to subpoena Napoles into the Senate probe on the P10-billion “pork barrel”  scam.

It was the Senate leader  who sought the advice of the Ombudsman and  when  Guingona  requested  him to reconsider his decision, Drilon  decided to leave  it to his colleagues  in the  chamber to decide on the matter.

The senators   were expected to meet and decide in a caucus  whether or not to subpoena Napoles until  Drilon took the floor and announced his decision.

In his collective and personal privilege,  Drilon   lamented how he was criticized and “vilified” in the media when he did not sign the subpoena.

“It is unfortunate that my decision to adhere to the advice of Ombudsman Morales — to which I concurred at that time was the more prudent and responsible action to take to, ensure an orderly administration of justice — has been misconstrued as an effort to hide the truth,” he said.

“The public criticism that came our way has undoubtedly injured the image of the Senate before a public hungry to see Napoles being grilled in the Senate Halls.”

He said his decision to defer the signing of the Napoles subpoena had been used by certain members of the opposition as an opportunity to blockthe government’s  anti-corruption reforms and  conduct a media vilification campaign against  him and the Aquino administration.”

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“As the head of this institution, I must lead in restoring the confidence of our people in the Senate,” Drilon said.

“All my life, I have always adhered to the rule of law. All my life, it has always been about justice. As a former Justice Secretary, I have always believed in the paramount pursuit of justice.”

That was why, he said, he was “appalled” that there were talks of cover-up.

“Mr President, I have never been a part of any cover-up and I will never be,” he said.

Saying that the “pork barrel” scam was a “great injustice” to the Filipino  people, Drilon promised that “no stone will be left unturned in enacting policy changes that will guarantee that this multi-billion pesos scam will never ever happen again.”

“Certainly, in this unprecedented case where even members of the Senate are allegedly involved, we will not shirk from our responsibility,” he further said.

Senator  Jose “Jinggoy’ Estrada, who was among those charged  with plunder at the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the pork scam,  immediately stood up  and expressed his support for Drilon’s decision.

“I’d like to commend the Senate  President for his decision to sign the subpoena for Ms. Janet Lim-Napoles to appear before the Senate blue ribbon committee. ‘I’m  in support of the  decision of the  Senate President,”  Estrada said.

“As you very well know,  I’m one of those senators implicated in this pork barrel scam together with Senators  Revilla and Enrile and we ought to know the truth. And I hope if Ms.  Napoles will be summoned by the Senate and if she appears before the Senate blue ribbon committee, I hope she will tell the truth,” he added.

Revilla is Senator  Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.  while Enrile is Minority Leader Juan Ponce-Enrile,  who were also  charged with plunder along with Estrada for allegedly funnelling their priority development assistance fund  (PDAF) or “pork barrel” funds to dummy non-government organizations linked to Napoles.

Senator  Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, a member of the opposition  bloc, also stood up on the floor to express his group’s support for Napoles subpoena.

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