Napoles’ written testimony may be subpoenaed, says Escudero
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate may, as a last option, subpoena Janet Lim-Napoles’ written testimony in case she uses her health condition to skip the Senate investigation on the “pork barrel” scam, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said on Thursday.
Napoles, who has been detained at Fort Sto. Domingo in Laguna for serious illegal detention of her cousin and whistle-blower Benhur Luy, was invited by the Senate to appear before its own investigation into the P10 billion “pork barrel” scam on November 7.
But should she fail to appear before the chamber, Escudero said the Senate may just subpoena Napoles’ written testimony and just read it before the Senate blue ribbon committee, investigating the scam.
“According to her lawyer, they perpetuated (Napoles’) testimony. That means a document was executed in relation to her testimony. If she cannot attend, that is an option – for the blue ribbon committee to subpoena (her written testimony),” the senator said in Filipino during the weekly media forum in the Senate when asked to comment on Napoles’ hospitalization before dawn Thursday.
“It can be read out. Copies can be distributed and questions can be asked of the other witnesses based on that affidavit,” he added.
It would not be humane, he said, to force Napoles to appear before the Senate if she is indeed sick.
“I will ensure one thing, she cannot fake her illness because we will repeatedly have her checked by the Senate and government doctors,” Escudero said.
But the senator said the possibility of Napoles not being able to attend the senate hearing was slim “unless her illness is permanent or lingering.”
“Perhaps there is still a chance for her to recover and testify in person,” he added.
Escudero clarified that the subpoena for Napoles stills stays and that the written testimony was only an option, a “temporary” remedy if she is indeed ill.
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