MANILA -– Senator Teofisto Guingona III, Senate blue ribbon chairman, on Monday rejected the request of Sen. Serge Osmena III to defer until November 18 the scheduled testimony of controversial businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles at the Senate.
”The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee will push through with its November 7 hearing with Janet Lim Napoles and the whistleblowers,” Guingona said in a text message.
Osmena requested last Sunday the Senate blue ribbon panel to postpone the Senate probe, saying majority of the senators are out of town and will not be able to attend the November 7 hearing.
Osmena said the senators must have the opportunity to propound questions to Napoles.
Several senators also opposed the cancellation of the much-awaited appearance of Napoles on Thursday with Sen. Francis Escudero insisting that senators have already been informed about the Nov. 7 hearing.
”I think we’ll have quorum on November 7 because every senator has already been informed about the Senate hearing,” Escudero said.
Escudero said the Senate should take the opportunity that the court has allowed Napoles to appear before the Senate inquiry into the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam.
Senate Majority Leader Alan Cayetano said he has already set aside November 7 for the Senate investigation.
”When the date was announced I adjusted my schedule to make sure I can attend,” Cayetano, one of the senators who have been calling for the abolition of the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) of the lawmakers, said.
”I believe that justice should not be made to wait. The Senate should resolve this issue as quickly as possible. The people deserve swift action and justice on this and other corruption issues including the Malampaya fund scam,” Cayetano added.
The Senate Blue Ribbon committee has summoned Napoles to attend a hearing to respond to testimonies before the committee that she masterminded the ‘pork’ scam that supposedly involve a number of lawmakers both from the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Former employees of Napoles have testified that the businesswoman was allegedly behind the grand scheme that involved the funneling of billions of pesos worth of ‘pork barrel’ funds of senators and congressmen into the accounts of dubious non-government organizations (NGOs), all purportedly set-up by Napoles and her minions.
Guingona said the Senate probe on pork scam will start at 10 a.m. (PNA)