MANILA – Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara on Sunday said he will support the proposal of colleague Sergio Osmena III requiring resource persons to submit sworn affidavits before they could be allowed to participate in investigations conducted by the Senate Blue Ribbon committee (BRC).
Angara said the suggestion to check the resource persons if they have evidence to back their claims before they can make their testimonies, is “worth considering.”
“Well established is a citizen’s freedom of speech but anybody who goes before the committee should have done their homework as much as possible and come up with supported testimony,” Angara said.
Osmena made his proposal after Augusto “Boboy” Syjuco Jr. has been allowed by BRC to testify in the next Senate inquiry into the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC).
Syjuco, former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), alleged that Senate President Franklin Drilon has mansion in Forbes Park.
Drilon’s camp has denied the allegation, saying Syjuco can have the mansion if he can prove that the Senate President owns it.
“This is a strong assurance or guaranty that witnesses will not change stories midway, nor will they use the committee as a venue for personal attacks or vendettas that are unsupported by evidence that has real probative value,” Angara emphasized.
“A resource person should be able able to present proof before the Blue Ribbon Committee when they allege acts of corruption or malfeasance committed by public officials. In that manner, senators could then properly study, examine and verify their claims,” he pointed out.
Angara, chairman of the Senate committee on ways and means, said requiring resource persons to hand over relevant documents first will ensure that “worthwhile investigations of official abuse can be probed upon efficiently.
”That way, when a Blue Ribbon hearing begins, the senators can then be sure that they have evidence at hand, saving the time and resource it would have taken to summon that evidence on a later basis,” he said.
During last Thursday’s first hearing on the alleged overpriced ICC, resource person Manuel Mejorada admitted he has no evidence to support his claims that the project was overpriced, and that he only based his conclusions on Wikipedia, newspapers and whispers.
“We do not want a repeat of Mr. Mejorada’s testimony where he could not present a single evidence to substantiate his allegation,” Angara said.