Napoles, whistle-blowers to meet at Senate probe?
MANILA – Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Teofisto "TG" Guingona III on Tuesday said a meeting could happen between alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles and her accusers.
The committee earlier forwarded to the Office of the Senate President for signing the subpoena to compel Napoles to attend its hearing set on Thursday, September 23. Under the rules of the Senate, a subpoena must be signed and approved by the Senate President.
In a recent development, the committee headed by Guingona also announced that it will issue a subpoena for Justice Secretary Leila de Lima directing the latter to present whistle-blowers Benhur Luy, Marina Sula, Merlina Suña and Gertrudes Luy.
"Possible na possible," Guingona said when asked by reporters about the possible meeting between Napoles and the whistle-blowers.
The whistle-blowers were supposed to appear in today's hearing, but the Justice Secretary said that since the plunder and other charges have been already been filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, "no publicity shall be made of the case, or unduly expose persons complained against to ridicule or public censure."
Guingona , however, said De Lima has no power to invoke the powers of the Ombudsman.
He said what de Lima did was "unprecedented" and was an attempt to undermine the power of the committee.
The Justice secretary said she is not invoking the powers of the Ombudsman but only wants the Senate to "provide the Ombudsman the opportunity to state her position on the matter."
Guingona said he is not amenable to De Lima's suggestion that the committee seek the permission of the Ombudsman on the matter. He added that allowing De Lima's reasoning to prevail would set a bad precedent for the committee and the Senate as an institution.
Luy, the primary whistle-blower who has accused businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles of conniving with several lawmakers to pocket pork barrel funds, already appeared before the Senate last September 12.