Senators divided on gas probe

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MEMBERS of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee are divided over the plan of Senator Teofisto Guingona 3rd, chairman of the panel, to close its probe on the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) scam and shift to the Malampaya fund controversy which also involves controversial businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.

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Although some members of the committee are amenable to the plan to wrap up the pork barrel scam probe, there are some who feel that the PDAF probe is not yet completed.

“If it is only up to me, I will already wrap up the Napoles PDAF scam because I feel that my objectives have been met,” Guingona said.

However, he noted that he needs to consult with the other members of the panel to determine if they are willing to pursue the PDAF investigation or shift to Malampaya scam.

Senator Grace Poe is one of those who are not in favor of closing the pork investigation because, according to her, there are still some issues that are yet to be tackled such as the amount of money involved in the scam and the failure of the concerned government agencies to detect the bank transactions.

“How can such huge amount of money enter and exit the bank without being detected?” she asked.

Poe also wants to hear the testimony of Napoles’ husband, Jaime, which the businesswoman claimed to be more knowledgeable when it comes to their family business.

The Senate panel had agreed to invite Mr. Napoles after senators failed to get information from his wife.

But Senator Francis Escudero said that he has no objections to the plan to shift the investigation from PDAF to Malampaya if the committee decided to do so.

“I have no problem with that. I will abide by the committee decision,” he added.

Senator Juan Edgardo Angara also backed Guingona’s idea, saying that the committee has covered a lot in its pork inquiry.

He expressed belief that it is time for the panel to shift the Malampaya fund scam which also involves millions of pesos that were used in bogus projects of local government units (LGUs).

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