• Senator rejects grant of immunity to Napoles

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    SENATE Majority Floor Leader Alan Peter Cayetano sees no reason for the justice department to grant immunity to Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged brains of the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

    Cayetano said that Napoles “should spill the beans” when she testifies before the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing on Nov. 7.

    The senator expressed objection to proposals to grant Napoles immunity to convince her to reveal everything she knows about the scam, saying the government has already obtained all the needed evidence regarding the controversy.

    He said the immunity will just send a wrong message to the whistle blowers who agreed to cooperate with the government and provided information that would help pin down Napoles and those public officials involved in the scam.

    “I’ll still advise her to tell all (not just) for her sake but for her family,” Cayetano said.

    Senator Serge Osmena 3rd suggested granting immunity to Napoles in order for the Blue Ribbon committee to obtain additional information about the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) anomaly.

    Instead of giving so much hype to Napoles’ testimony, Cayetano said the government should now pursue the remaining 74 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) included in the special audit report of the Commission on Audit (COA) that were also found to have questionable transactions.

    “Remember the Napoles NGOs are only 10 percent of the total number of NGOs with questionable transactions, 90 percent are yet to be investigated and to look into the 2010 to 2012 PDAF and non PDAF disbursements,” he noted.

    Senator Aquilino Pimentel 3rd in a privilege speech asked the Senate Blue Ribbon committee to look into the questionable November 2012 memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the provincial government of Surigao del Sur and the Department of Agriculture (DA) that mentioned his name as receiving funds from Organic Agriculture Program of the DA.

    Pimentel said his office had nothing to do with the MOA and it is possible that his signature was forged to make it appear that he is involved in the agreement. The MOA was signed by Undersecretary Antonio Fleta  of the DA and Gov. Johnny Pimentel.

    Pimentel also said that he would file a case of falsification against Fleta before the Office of the Ombudsman as he could not have asked for allocations from the DA since the fund involved is a non-PDAF allocation.

    In a related development, Senator Ferdinand Marcos on Tuesday said he would personally conduct an extensive investigation to identify those behind the forging of signatures of lawmakers.

    Marcos said his name has again been dragged in the alleged release of P24.25 million to an NGO named Masaganang Ani para sa Magsasaka Foundation, Inc. (Mamfi) for supposed livelihood projects in Davao del Sur and Davao Oriental in 2011.

    Marcos immediately checked the records of his office and saw there was no document or record pertaining to any transaction or endorsement from his office involving Mamfi for any period, including the year 2011.

    He also cited the records posted in the website of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) showing that the only project funded through his PDAF in the Davao area in the 2011 was the P300,000 for construction/ improvement of a drainage canal in Barangay Rafael
    Castillo, Agdao, Davao City.

    The fund was allocated to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Davao City District Engineering Office.

    “I am sick and tired of my name being dragged into this controversy.  I never even knew that there was such a thing called DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program) until COA wrote to me in September this year,” he stressed.

    Meanwhile, whistleblower Benjur Luy on Tuesday became confrontational when  grilled by the camp of his former boss, Janet Lim-Napoles over his letters and ‘spiritual’ journals.

    Luy, who accused Napoles and her brother Reynald ‘Jojo’ Lim of illegally detaining him, appeared for the second at the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 150.

    During the cross examination, defense lawyer Alfredo Villamor confronted Luy of his letters and ‘spiritual’ journals that he wrote during his alleged detention at the Bahay San Jose Retreat House in Magallanes Village, Makati City.

    Jefferson Antiporda and Ritchie Horario Reporters

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