Senate to decide on Napoles' appearance
MANILA - Senate President Franklin Drilon on Tuesday said he will leave it to his fellow senators to decide on the possible appearance and testimony of Janet Lim Napoles before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee inquiry on the pork barrel scam.
In a statement, Drilon said he will ask the senators during a caucus on October 14 to decide on Napoles' appearance .
"In view of the response of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, I will submit the issue whether to issue a subpoena to Napoles to the decision and judgment of the senators," said Drilon.
Drilon earlier said he will defer to the decision of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales not to compel Napoles to appear before the Senate panel inquiry on the P10 billion pork barrel scam.
On Monday, Morales said she never challenged the right of the Senate to investigate the pork barrel scam but said she is "not inclined to modify an earlier comment that it is not advisable at this time to issue a subpoena for Napoles.
"That the Senate is supreme in its own sphere was never meant to be challenged. I thus submit to the collective wisdom of its members," she said in a letter to Drilon.
Drilon said he hopes that his colleagues realize the implication if Napoles appears in the Senate before the Ombudsman could finish its initial and fact-finding evaluation of the plunder case filed before it in connection with P10-billion pork mess. He said he is confident that majority of the senators will understand and support his decision not to issue a subpoena to Napoles at this time.
“We consider it a matter of prime importance that we should allow the Ombudsman to complete its initial fact-finding evaluation of the plunder case filed before it in connection with the pork barrel scam," he said.
"What is at stake here is the ability of the Office of the Ombudsman to prosecute the PDAF misuse cases against the Napoles with dispatch and without delay. This is the principal goal of our justice system.”
Drilon earlier said that “prudence and caution” guided his decision not to sign a subpoena to Napoles.
“While my decision appears unpopular to media and a public eager to see Napoles grilled by the Blue Ribbon Committee, I have decided on the side of caution. I would rather err on the side of prudence,” he said.