• No executive session during Napoles blue ribbon appearance

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    THE Senate Blue Ribbon Committee will not allow any request for an executive session from the camp of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles during her scheduled appearance before the Senate panel investigation on the controversy on November 7.

    Senator Teofisto Guingona 3rd, chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee, pointed out that Napoles was summoned by the panel for her to testify under oath on what she know about the multi-billion peso scam involving the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) of legislators, and she should tell all before the public.

    Guingona said that although there is a possibility for Napoles to request for an executive session during the hearing, the Blue Ribbon chair said that he will not allow it.

    Rule XLVII of the Senate Rules states that “The executive sessions of the Senate shall be held always behind closed doors. In such sessions, only the Secretary, the Sergeant-at-Arms, and/or such other persons as may be authorized by the Senate may be admitted to the session hall.”

    All matters discussed during the executive session are covered by the ban of secrecy but the senate by two-thirds (2/3) vote of all its members can lift the ban.

    “They can request for an executive session but I will not agree to that. Because that’s precisely the point to find out the truth and what really took place,” Guingona explained.

    Napoles, based on the subpoena issued by the Senate, is being required to appear before the blue ribbon committee and testify under oath on what she knows relative to the pork barrel scam.

    The Makati City court handling the serious illegal detention case against Napoles granted the request of the senate and allowed controversial businesswoman to attend the Priority Developments Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam investigation by the Blue Ribbon panel.

    Guingona lauded the decision of the court in upholding the co-equal and coordinating powers of the Legislature and the Judiciary in their pursuit of the truth.

    “With the court’s order for 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 PDAF,” he added.

    Meanwhile, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada still have no plans to attend the pork barrel scam probe saying that they already decided to inhibit from the proceedings totally.

    Enrile and Estrada are two of the three senators who are currently facing plunder complaint before the office of the Ombudsman in connection with the supposed misuse of their PDAF allocation from 2007 to 2009. Senator Ramon Revilla Jr., is the third senator implicated.

    Enrile, when sought for his comment on Nepoles scheduled appearance, said that the businesswoman should not be allowed by her lawyer to testify because of the pending cases before the ombudsman and a local court.

    “If I were her lawyer, I will not allow her to testify. That is her constitutional right,” Enrile said.

    Estrada on the other hand said that he has no plans to attend the hearing because he already inhibited himself from day one. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA

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