Osmena wants Napoles to identify lawmakers in pork scam
Says senators may consider immunity for Napoles
MANILA -- Senator Sergio "Serge" Osmeña III on Wednesday said he wants Janet Lim Napoles to identify all lawmakers involved in the multi-billion pork barrel scam.
"I want her to identify all the congressman and senators," said Osmeña when asked what he wanted to get out of Napoles once she appears before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on November 7.
Osmeña is the vice chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee.
Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. are among Napoles' co-accused in the plunder case before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Osmeña doubts, however, that Napoles will speak even if the whole nation is dying to hear her talk.
"Mangyayari ba yun? I don't think so, unless you offer her state witness or immunity. That's just my opinion. She will surely invoke it (right against self-incrimination)," he said.
He added immunity will be an option for Napoles "if the judgment of the committee is she's not the most guilty."
Even if Napoles got more money than all the lawmakers, the question on who is more guilty is a "subjective judgment," Osmeña said.
Between a governor who gets P10 million and an ordinary person who gets P50 million, he said he would rather go after the governor.
"Government officials have a bigger responsibility because he took an oath. I have a heavier responsibility because I'm supposed to be above suspicion," he explained.
Meanwhile, the senator said if lawmakers' Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) are abolished, the money will only be moved to "unprogrammed funds."
Osmeña believes it would be better to put the senators' P4.8 billion PDAF for 2014 to projects that have already been identified. "If you remove it, it goes to unprogrammed funds. Maybe it's better to put it in the program na naka-identify."
But he clarified that the "discretion" part on the allocation of PDAF should be removed, which means senators cannot specifically identify a project or where it should go. "We can say classrooms, we won't name where, we leave it up to the agency."
He added the PDAF should go straight to specific agencies, not to contractors or non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
If senators want to identify specific projects, "subject it to a vote by all congressmen and senators," Osmeña said.