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Alleged mastermind of Philippine pork barrel scam faces senators
Publication Date : 07-11-2013
The alleged mastermind in the 10 billion pesos (US$288 million) pork barrel scam faced the Senate for the first time on Thursday to answer the allegations against her.
Janet Lim-Napoles appeared before the Senate blue ribbon committee, which resumed its investigation into controversy at about 10am Thursday.
Also invited to the hearing were principal whistle-blower Benhur Luy and other witnesses like Luy’s mother, Gertudes, Marina Sula, Merlina Sunas, Simonette Briones, and Mary Arlene Baltazar.
Luy and some of the invited witnesses have appeared in the previous hearing of the committee where they narrated how lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or “pork barrel” funds were channelled to bogus non-government organisations linked to Napoles.
But Napoles, in the July 13 article of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, strongly denied the allegations.
“I certainly was not involved in any of the high-profile scams which occurred during the previous administration,” the report said, quoting her affidavit prepared by the MOST law firm.
On September 16, the Department of Justice recommended to the Office of the Ombudsman the filing of a plunder complaint against Napoles, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce-Enrile, Senators Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., and other congressmen and individuals allegedly involved in the scam.
But the plunder charges in the Ombudsman did not stop the Senate from pursuing its own investigation on the issue.
The committee headed by Senator Teofisto Guingona III summoned Luy and other whistle-blowers in the hearing and issued a subpoena to Napoles.