Senate rejects Napoles’ request for executive session
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate blue ribbon committee rejected a request by Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the P10 billion pork barrel scam, for an “executive session” because the subject of the investigation was a “sensitive issue”.
Senator Teofisto Guingona III, chairman of the committee, said her request could not be granted because the issue did not involve national security.
Before the committee decision, Guingona asked Napoles why she was asking for an executive session to which she said: “Dahil po a sensitibo ang issue na ito.”
Guingona then suspended the hearing to confer with the members of the committee.
Guingona III, opened the hearing at exactly 10:07 a.m with eight other senators present at the session hall.
In his opening statement, Guingona told Napoles that this hearing would be her chance to clear her name and answer all allegations hurled at her.
“Patunayan nyo Ms. Napoles na nagkamali sila sa kanilang iniisip. Pagkakataon nyong makatulong sa bayan. Huwag nyong sayangin ang pagakaktaong ito,” Guingona said.
Guingona then asked Napoles if she had a lawyer with her and she answered in the negative. The senator pointed to the three lawyers from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) who were seated beside her.
“Do you want a few more minutes to confer with them?” asked Guingona.
But Howard Areza, one of the PAO lawyers, requested to give them instead half an hour.
“We need quality time for our client. This is the first time that we have met Napoles ,” Areza said, adding that Napoles was entitled to have “quality” time with her lawyers.
Guingona gave Napoles until 10:30 a.m. only to confer with the lawyers.