Terminate Senate hearings on pork scam - analyst
MANILA - University of the East College of Law dean Amado Valdez said the Senate should already terminate its proceedings on the pork barrel scam and give way to the Office of the Ombudsman's probe.
He believes the Senate has already gathered enough information to support its end goal of inquiring in aid of legislation.
“What we need is balance. The liberty and reputation of the people are at stake. We should not push investigations to the extreme to the point of destroying some reputations at the same time offering them at the stake of judicial and public scrutiny by coming up with further investigations which may no longer serve its lawful purpose,” Valdez told ANC.
He agreed with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima who, on Tuesday morning, failed to make good her promise to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to bring the whistleblowers.
The committee chairman, Senator TG Guingona, criticized de Lima for insisting that the whistleblowers are already under the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman.
Senate President Franklin Drilon would later sign the subpoenas for the whistleblowers, saying “suppressing the truth is not consistent with our policy of transparency and public accountability.”
However, he did a turnaround in the case of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged broker in the pork scam, citing an advisory from the Ombudsman.
Valdez said there is a Supreme Court decision that supports de Lima’s actions, since the witnesses’ appearance could compromise the objectivity of the Ombudsman.
Nonetheless, the Senate committee could always question this since “constitutional law is an evolving law that is decided in light of circumstances,” he said.
The impasse could always go to the Supreme Court, he said.
He suggested, however, that if the committee has already “enough for purposes of legislation, they may forego [going to the SC] to avoid a sort of pushing and pulling between the two [branches].”
He believes the Blue Ribbon Committee has already obtained enough information to to pursue legislative reforms.
“They have enough. In fact, Congress is now ready in [pursuing a legislation] whether the [priority development assistance fund] should be abolished,” he said.