MANILA (PNA) — Senate President Franklin Drilon on Monday said he believes President Benigno Aquino III would not invoke executive privilege in order to prevent the disclosure of the so-called Janet Lim Napoles list containing names of public officials and legislators involved in the pork barrel scam.
“I don’t think that he (Aquino) will ask for executive privilege. This whole scandal is brought in the open because of the policy of the President towards transparency, of not tolerating corruption,” Drilon said.
“In another regime, this would have been covered up, but not in the Aquino administration. If that was the intention, to cover-up, he would have done so a long time ago,” he added.
Drilon attributed the ongoing cleansing process of the Senate to the resolve of the President to curb corruption.
”It was President himself who ordered that we shall bring this case to where the evidence will take us, regardless of who gets hurt,” he stressed.
The Napoles list allegedly contains the names of at least 12 senators, including some administration lawmakers.
Senate Blue Ribbon chairman Teofisto Guingona III earlier issued subpoena duces tecum ordering Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to surrender Napoles list to the Senate.
Guingona said he will most likely reopen the Senate pork barrel scam hearing to investigate, in aid of legislation, the Napoles list not only at the hands of De Lima but the list given to former Senator Panfilo Lacson.
Meanwhile, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago asked Guingona to request whistleblower Benhur Luy to testify on his own list, said to include 200 people, who allegedly received kickbacks from Napoles, alleged mastermind of the P10 billion pork barrel scam.
Santiago said only the Luy list would be “definitive and substantiated,” as compared to what she called “spurious documents inadmissible in evidence” claimed by Napoles, Lacson, and Sandra Cam.
Last Sunday (May 11), President Aquino was reported as saying in Naypyitaw, Burma, that he has been shown two lists, both from Napoles, and another list from Lacson.
The President reportedly said that each list refers to the other.
President Aquino reportedly expressed the suspicion that certain quarters are “trying to crowd the issue. This supports my humble claim for the Luy list,” said Santiago.
Luy’s parents allegedly went to a national newspaper (Inquirer) last year and submitted a hard drive reportedly containing the complete files of Benhur as finance officer of Napoles.
Santiago, a former multi-awarded RTC judge, said that in addition to testimonial knowledge, the Luy list would be admissible in evidence as allowed by the Rules of Court.
The former judge also said that the Luy list could be admitted as “commercial lists and the like, which are considered admissible,” as tending to prove the truth of any relevant matter.
Santiago said that all other self-proclaimed lists from Napoles, Lacson, and Cam were likely “fictional and polluted,” because they appear to be sourced from one or all of the three senators indicted by the Ombudsman for plunder.
The lady senator said that each of the three claimants with his or her own version of a list could be acting as attack dogs of the indicted senators.
The feisty lady lawmaker was referring to senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla who have been charged with plunder before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Estrada and Revilla welcomed the move of the Senate to subpoena the Napoles list.
”I’ve been asking for that list a long time ago so that we will be able to know who is talking the truth,” Estrada said in media interview.
For his part, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero said not only all the lists but all those who claim to have such lists be summoned to appear before the Senate.
”In adherence to transparency, as soon as these lists are received by the committee, these must be made public even prior to a scheduled hearing,” Escudero said.