(Updated 3:23 p.m.)
The Senate on Monday issued the subpoena requiring businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the P10-billion pork barrel scam, to appear in the Senate investigation on the issue.
The subpoena ad testificandum
, signed by Senate President Franklin Drilon and Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, orders Napoles to attend the Senate hearing on November 7, Thursday, at 10 a.m. to be held at the Senate session hall.
Ordered to bring Napoles, detained at Fort Sto. Domingo in Laguna, to the hearing is Director Carmelo Valmoria, Philippine National Police-Special Action Force commander.
The subpoena was served on Napoles Monday at Fort Sto. Domingo, a report on News TV Live said.
Napoles is detained at Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna on a serious illegal detention case being heard by the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150.
The Senate blue ribbon committee is looking into Napoles' role in the scam, where she is accused of setting up fake non-government organizations to siphon the Priority Development Assistance Fund of some lawmakers. Napoles has denied her involvement
in the scam.
Napoles vs whistleblowers
At a press conference, Guingona said they also summoned to the hearing whistleblowers Benhur Luy, his mother Gertrudes, Marina Sula, Merlina Suñas, Mary Arlene Baltazar and Simonette Briones.
The six have previously attended hearings of the Senate on the matter. Guingona said this is to give opportunity to both parties to validate or repudiate their statements.
Napoles and the whistleblowers are expected to face each other at the Senate hearing, the News TV Live report said.
“I think it is very convenient so that we can have a system of check and balances. Whatever is stated can be validated or repudiated by the whistleblowers,” Guingona said.
He said they scheduled the hearing next month to give priority to the efforts being exerted to help the calamity victims in Bohol, Cebu and Zamboanga City and to give time to the upcoming barangay elections.
“We would like to concentrate our efforts on the relief of the victims of the natural and man-made disasters in Bohol, Cebu and even in Zamboanga. There are so many calamities that we have to face and we should give priority to these calamities. The week after that would be the [Oct. 28] barangay elections and Nov. 1 and 2,” he said.
The order to bring Napoles to the hearing was given to the PNP and not to the court. The former has control over the facility where the controversial businesswoman is detained, Guingona said.
He cited Rule 14 of the Senate Rules of Court which states: “When the defendant is a prisoner confined in a jail or an institution, service shall be effected upon him by the officer having the management of such jail or institution who is deemed deputized as a special sheriff for said purpose.”
“Dadaan din sa korte dahil magpapaalam sa korte 'yung PNP. Sila na ang magpapaalam sa korte,” said Guingona.
Asked if he thinks Napoles’ presence in the Senate is a concern, Guingona said it is “but I’m sure the PNP will take all the necessary steps to ensure the security here in the Senate and coordinate well with our security.”
He added that the senators believe that Napoles should come to the Senate. He believed all the senators support efforts to call Napoles.
“Wala akong nakitang resistance, violent or non-violent reaction, wala,” he said.
The Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 will decide whether it will allow Napoles to appear at the Senate hearing, the News TV Live report said.
Asked what the Senate will do if the court refuses to allow Napoles to attend the hearing, Guingona said it should have a “very, very good reason because now I can’t think of any (reason) why the court will not allow it.”
Meanwhile, Guingona refused to answer questions on how the Senate will act if Napoles refuses to say anything.
“Let’s not speculate. You will never know kung ano ang mangyayari hangga’t andun talaga siya, magsalita siya o hindi. We will only know what will happen when she is already there,” he said.
Guingona said he wants Napoles' testimony to be finished in a day but he is not discounting the possibility that she will be called again.
“I’d like to think that because of the amount of coordination involved, it might be better just to have her once here but we are not ruling out that she will be called again,” he said.
No condition on Napoles appearance
Guingona said there was no agreement set for the attendance of Napoles.
“Walang condition... (tell all) yes,” he said.
Asked if the Blue Ribbon committee will finish its probe after Napoles’s testimony, the senator said they have to assess first if they will end it or if they will call for additional witnesses.
Napoles is also currently facing three plunder complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman for her alleged involvement in the pork barrel and Malampaya Fund scams.
Three senators—Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon Bong Revilla—are co-respondents in the plunder complaints for their supposed involvement in the alleged pork barrel scam.
She and her husband, Jaime, were also named respondents by the Bureau of Internal Revenue in a P61-million tax evasion complaint.