Napoles Senate appearance won't be a circus: TG
MANILA – Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Teofisto "TG" Guingona III on Tuesday assured the public of an orderly proceeding when alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles faces the Senate.
"The way I conduct hearings, it has never turned into a circus. As long as it is under my watch, it will never be a circus," Guingona told reporters.
Guingona said the committee will practice fairness in asking questions to Napoles, even as he admitted that it is possible for the businesswoman to invoke her right against self-incrimination.
"You cannot cite somebody in contempt for using a right kasi karapatan iyan eh," he said.
Guingona, however, warned Napoles that the right against self-incrimination has its limitations.
"Every time you ask a question, she (Napoles) can invoke her right. But it has to be something, you can incriminate her. It cannot be like, 'What is your name?' and then 'I invoke my right.' Hindi naman pwede iyon," he said.
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on Monday issued a subpoena to Napoles, ordering the businesswoman to appear before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the pork barrel scam on November 7, 10 a.m.
That same day, Judge Elmo Alameda of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 approved Napoles’ appearance at the committee hearing.
The Makati court, which is hearing the serious illegal detention case filed by whistleblower Benhur Luy against Napoles, also ordered the Philippine National Police to secure the businesswoman when she is brought to the Senate.
Napoles is currently detained in Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
Guingona said Napoles is expected to appear before the Senate along with pork barrel scam whistle-blowers "so we can have a system of checks and balances, and whatever is stated can be validated or repudiated."
The whistle-blowers summoned to the hearing include Luy, his mother Gertrudes, Marina Sula, Merlina Suñas, Mary Arlene Baltazar and Simonette Briones.
In a separate statement, Gunigona thanked Alameda for allowing Napoles to testify before the committee hearing.
"With the court's order for Janet Lim-Napoles to appear before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, we are now much closer to completing the whole story on the abuses done with the Priority Development Assistance Fund,” he said.
He said Napoles will finally be given the opportunity to "come clean and speak the truth."
"The Filipino people will be watching. We will be ready," he said.