MANILA — Senate President Franklin Drilon on Wednesday urged the public to be judicious in determining whether the pork barrel scam is being used as propaganda by some individuals who intend to muddle the issue.
”I’m appealing to our countrymen, guard the Senate, guard our public officials. But we should be discerning,” Drilon appealed a day after an alleged list of lawmakers linked to pork controversy came out to the media.
”Let’s examine which is just a propaganda or an allegation that has authentic basis,” he added.
Drilon promised that the Senate leadership will support the investigation and “we will send to jail those who committed wrongdoings.”
Drilon clarified that he personally supports the release of the Napoles list and other lists, including the Benhur Luy list.
”But (these) should be backed up with (pieces of) evidence and witnesses who can substantiate the allegation,” he said.
Last Tuesday, Senate blue ribbon chairman Sen. Teofisto Guingona III released to media the so-called “Napolist” of 98 individuals, including 12 former and incumbent senators linked to pork scam, provided by former senator Panfilo Lacson.
Drilon was not among the senators on the list submitted by Napoles to Lacson but the Senate leader was reportedly included on the Benhur Luy list along with senator Miriam Defensor Santiago.
Incumbent senators Ramon Revilla Jr., Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Vicente Sotto III, Loren Legarda, Koko Pimentel, Alan Peter Cayetano, Gringo Honasan and JV Ejercito as former congressman, and former senators Manny Villar and the late Robert Barbers are on the Napolist.
”We should be careful with the list that has no details because it might damage the reputation of the innocent individuals,” Drilon said.
For his part, Escudero questioned the authenticity of the Napoles list and Lacson’s intention to submit the list along with unsigned affidavit of Napoles to the Senate blue ribbon.
”He (Lacson) said it’s a combined list of and his list. He said Drilon was not on his list but he was on Benhur’s list. I was not on Benhur’s list but I was included on Napoles list. Which is which? Why the people are allowing themselves to be used by Napoles,” Escudero said.
Escudero also questioned Lacson’s statement saying the Senate will crumple once the Napoles’ list will be made public.
”Does it mean he (Lacson) is trusting the statements of Napoles and her husband (Jaime) and that’s why he claims that our institution will collapse. Does he have personal knowledge about the list?,” Escudero asked.
Escudero believed the lists from Lacson, Sandra Cam and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima all came from Napoles.
Escudero recommended to Guingona to subpoena not only the Napoles list but also the individuals who have been given copies of the controversial list of Napoles.
Meanwhile, Santiago denounced as ‘false’ the allegations against her as drawn from Luy’s list.
”All the documents are fake. I have no clue about the alleged details, which are all falsified or fictitious,” Santiago said.
The feisty lady lawmaker said she will confront Luy and Napoles, if they appear at the Senate hearing.
”Someone has made money by using my name, and I will make that person pay, big time,” Santiago warned.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a criminal complaint against Enrile, Revilla and Estrada and other individuals based on the testimonies and pieces of evidence submitted by Luy to the DOJ and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).