MANILA - Senator Nancy Binay on Tuesday said she was caught by surprise by Senator Teofisto "TG" Guingona III's decision to recommend the filing of criminal charges against Janet Lim Napoles and Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. in connection with the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.
Binay, in a press statement, said she was not informed about the decision of Guingona to call for a press conference to announce the findings of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on the pork barrel scam.
"While he has the right to express his views as committee chairman, I feel that Sen. TG should have been more circumspect before making any public announcement," she said.
"Sana kinonsulta muna kami dahil maaari naman po kaming ipatawag para sa mga importanteng desisyon tulad nito. Ni hindi pa po namin nakikita ang nilalaman ng report. Sana po ay nabigyan muna kami ng kahit summary ng draft report," Binay added.
She said the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee report on the pork barrel scam "is technically not official yet."
"Based on the rules, committee reports must be approved by majority of its regular and ex officio members. Anumang desisyon ng committee ay dapat pag-usapan at i-approve by majority vote," Binay said.
In a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Guingona said his committee "finds merit in the evidence presented and finds sufficient basis for the filing of appropriate criminal cases with the proper court" against Napoles, the three senators and their respective chiefs of staff or representatives.
The Blue Ribbon Committee has conducted 9 hearings on the pork barrel scam with the goals of determining how the anomaly was perpetrated, who should be held accountable, and what measures should be done to prevent public funds from being misappropriated in the future.
On the same day, the Office of the Ombudsman recommended the filing of plunder and graft charges against Enrile, Estrada, Revilla, and others tagged in one of the biggest corruption scandals in the history of the Philippines.
In a press conference, spokesman and Assistant Ombudsman Asryman Rafanan said Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales signed three separate joint resolutions that saw the three senators under an alleged modus operandi where they “repeatedly received sums of money from [businesswoman Janet Napoles]" that took place for a number of years.