ALLEGED pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles is not yet out of the woods so far the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is concerned because the panel is still considering either to site her for contempt or to file perjury compliant against her in connection with her testimony.
Sen. Teofisto Guinagona 3rd, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, said that the panel will be studying the testimony of Napoles during the six-hour hearing on pork barrel scam on Thursday and determine if there is basis to site her for contempt.
“We will discuss it in the committee. There are two choices if we reach that point and it is either to cite her for in contempt or directly file perjury case against her,” Guingona said in an interview with reporters.
Napoles during the entire course of the hearing only made general denials on allegations cited by the whistleblowers on their sworn affidavits submitted to the National Bureau of Investigation.
In some instances the controversial businesswoman invoke her right against self-incrimination and told Senate investigators that she would rather answer the issue before the proper forum since there are cases that have been filed against her in connection with scam.
But for Guingona, he considers the testimony of Napoles as satisfying because the committee was able to show the stark contrasts between the detailed testimony of the whistleblowers and Napoles’ denials.
It was Senate majority leader Alan Peter Cayetano who made the request to the committee for it to look into the testimony of Napoles because he believes that the businesswoman is being evasive or lying to the committee.
Cayetano insisted that it is the obligation of the senate not to tolerate lies and even thought the penalty of perjury is small as compared to plunder the chamber must still push though with the case.
“I am not only referring to Ms. Napoles. I am referring to anyone who gives testimony to this sacred institution,” Cayatano noted.
Minority Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito also wants the panel to consider possible sanction against Napoles because according to him it is obvious that she did not took the panel hearing seriously.
Ejercito was present during the blue ribbon hearing but opted not to ask questions to Napoles believing that the latter will not be able to provide him a convincing response.
The lawmaker admitted being frustrated because the senate could not get answers from Napoles regarding the PDAF controversy.
Senator Antonio Trilanes 4th on the other hand said that he is not disappointed with the outcome of the committee hearing because what Napoles did was totally expected and the filing of perjury cases seems unnecessary.
“She either evasive or outright lying but to file a perjury case would look petty and is a laborious, almost futile undertaking,” Trillanes added.,
As for plan to cite Napoles for contempt, he said that such action should have been raised by the senators who felt that she may have committed the offense during the hearing.
Napoles has denied having knowledge in the pork barrel scam and even insisted that he never had dealings with any lawmakers in the past.
The businesswomen also told senate investigators that her family is not rich and that their wealth is just right to sustain their needs.
But she cannot explain to the senators how her wealth grew over the years. Jefferson Antiporda