Cayetano, Santiago seek Senate hearing to confront Napoles, Luy
MANILA, Philippines—Some senators bristled, on Wednesday at whistle-blower’s Benhur Luy’s files detailing their transactions with Janet Lim Napoles, challenging the Department of Justice to file the charges.
Riled by the publication of the files, Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago pressed the Blue Ribbon Committee to resume its inquiry into the scam so they could confront Napoles and Luy.
“Preposterous,” Senate President Franklin Drilon said, laughing off the claim he got a P5-million allocation as chair of the Commission on Appointments in 2005.
“There is no PDAF (priority development assistance fund) in the Commission of Appointment if that was the purpose of the allocation,” he told reporters at the session hall. He said he was a member of the opposition in 2005.
Drilon added there was no check, voucher or SARO (special allotment release order) “that has gone to me.’’
The Senate President challenged the Department of Justice to file charges against senators involved in the scam. He said the Senate would survive this and would be “strengthened” by this.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer on Tuesday ran a story about Luy’s digital files detailing Napoles’ transactions with 15 incumbent senators and 10 former ones from 2002 to 2012, during which Napoles channeled pork barrel allocations to ghost projects.
“It’s absolutely false. I never had any cash advance from Ms Napoles,” Cayetano said. “If someone got it, I don’t know him or her. The only VLL I know is a staff from Vista Land. I don’t know any with those initials. I didn’t get commissions.”
Luy’s records showed Cayetano allocated P3 million of his PDAF for a communication supply when he was a Taguig-Pateros lawmaker in 2003.
These records showed a cash advance of P639,625 was received by “VLL,” but that P500,000 was returned by Cayetano to JLN, Napoles company.
“For the record, I denounce as false, the allegations against me drawn from the Luy list. All the documents are fake. I have no clue about the alleged details, which are all falsified or fictitious,’’ Santiago said in a statement.
She claimed that the Napoles Gang “merely forged certain public documents and used certain names like mine to pad their in-house records.’’
“Presumably, there are other people who, like me, are innocent, but whose names and identities have been stolen,’’ she said. “Someone has made money by using my name, and I will make that person pay, big time.’’
Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III said a purported October 2012 letter to the Department of Agriculture requesting a P10-million allocation for Surigao del Sur from his office was “forged.’’
“You become part of their list because they forged the letter in your name. That’s the kind of list we’re spending time on. We should spend time on the evidence,’’ he rued in an interview with reporters.
“And then the DOJ and the Ombudsman should start filing the cases so we don’t become too depended on these lists,’’ he added.
Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito said he could not recall allocating P5 million for the Department of Interior and Local Government. If at all, he allotted much of his pork barrel for scholarships.
“I would not risk destroying my name for P5 million,’’ he told reporters. “I challenge anybody who could prove I have transactions with Napoles, I will give him or her P5 million.’’
Sen. Cynthia Villar belied claims she received P500,000 kickback. She said that the Department of Transportation and Communication directly dealt with her constituents, and gave away computers to them.
“We don’t know how much they bought it, how many they bought. It was typical for the DOTC to give away computers,’’ she said. If at all, this was part of black propaganda against perceived political enemies in 2016.
“I’m so confused by all the lists. I have never met Janet Napoles. We’ve never been together. I have never spoken to her. I have no dealings with her. I have not been to a party with her; there’s no picture with her,’’ said Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
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