Leila de Lima, TG Guingona and Bong Revilla. Composite Image
MANILA - Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. challenged Blue Ribbon Committee Chairperson Teofisto "TG" Guingona III to compel Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to produce the list supposedly containing the names of other lawmakers who pocketed kickbacks from their pork barrel.
Revilla said Guingona should resign as chair of the committee if he refuses to compel de Lima.
"Noong time na tinitira nila kami sa Blue Ribbon, wala silang pakundangan na gulpihin kami. Ngayon, I challenge the chairman of Blue Ribbon Committee na i-compel niya ito, obligahin si Secretary de Lima na ilabas ang listahan na ito," Revilla told reporters on Tuesday.
"I think he should resign as chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee," he added, when asked if Guingona refuses to compel the production of the list.
Senator Jinggoy Estrada criticized de Lima for refusing to divulge the names in the list, saying that it is "unfair" to the three senators indicted for plunder.
Estrada said de Lima should not wait for the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to compel her to produce the list.
"Bakit niya ibabato sa Senate, sa Blue Ribbon Committee? Pwede naman niya i-release on her own kung talagang meron siyang listahan," Estrada told reporters.
"Siguro tinatanggal niya mga kaalyado niya. That is only the reason that I can think of. She keeps on saying that she has a list. Why doesn't she expose it to the public? Now she is conspicuously silent. She is not even uttering a word with regard to the list that she holds allegedly. Why keep it from the public?"
Estrada said he does not buy de Lima's reason that authorities still have to evaluate the veracity of the list.
"That's unfair. What's there to evaluate? What's there to vet? Unfair sa aming tatlo 'yun. Bakit kaming tatlo lang ang dinidiin niya? The problem with her is she's too talkative. Now she's very, very silent about it. Paano kung mag-usap 'yung dalawa, si Senator Guingona at si Secretary de Lima na huwag na mag-hearing? E di hindi malalaman kung ano ang laman ng listahan? Pagka-pangalan ng tatlo, absolutely, absolutely meron. Pero 'pag iba, wala. I-evaluate nila," he said.
He also won't heed de Lima's request not to pressure her to produce the list pending the investigation.
"Drama. That's also zarzuela. She can release it on her own. Why wait for the Senate to compel her? Bakit niya ibabato sa amin 'yun," Estrada said.
Guingona has not yet decided on whether to reopen the investigation.
Committee Vice Chair Senator Serge Osmeña is in favor of reopening the investigation, agreeing that the committee can issue a subpoena to have Janet Napoles' new affidavit presented.
A caucus of the committee may be called to discuss the matter, he said, believing that the investigation will be reopened if the matter is voted upon.
"If it's brought to a vote, it would be reopened," Osmeña said.
He said the public may smell a "cover-up" if de Lima continues to refuse divulging the contents of the affidavit.
On de Lima's request to give her time to evaluate the contents of the affidavit, he said, "We have to go through that process. Kung kakausapin niya ang senador, then we'll invite her to a caucus and hear her side, sapagkat siguro may punto rin siya. Ngunit ang kinatatakutan ko, sasabihin ng taumbayan, 'Naku cover up ito.'"