MANILA – Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Monday said she will comply with the subpoena issued by the Senate for her to produce the list of lawmakers who allegedly benefited from the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.
''Since it's a subpoena, I will comply','' De Lima said in a text message.
Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Sen. TG Guingona earlier said he had signed a subpoena duces tecum for de Lima to surrender the list to the Senate this week.
He said rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson has also committed to submit all documents about the pork barrel scam to him "within the week."
"I think it is time already in the spirit of transparency the list should be brought out. Not only the list in the hands of Secretary de Lima but also the list that Senator Lacson has," he told reporters.
Guingona said there will likely be a hearing based on the contents of the lists. He said the list will be made open to the public.
Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles submitted the list of lawmakers linked to the scam last month just before she underwent surgery at the Ospital ng Makati.
Lacson later revealed that as many as 16 senators have been linked to the scam, based on the list he received. De Lima said Lacson's list came from Napoles' husband.
Napoles is accused of conniving with lawmakers and other government officials to siphon billions of pesos in priority development assistance funds to fake foundations that she set up. At least three opposition senators - Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla - are now facing plunder charges before the Office of the Ombudsman for funneling their PDAF to Napoles NGOs.
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is also set to investigate the Malampaya fund scam on May 22. Commission on Audit chairperson Grace Pulido Tan will be the first resource person for the hearing, Guingona said.
De Lima agreed to comply with the subpoena even as lawyer Romulo Macalintal opined that the justice secretary can opt to invoke executive privilege.
Macalintal said the Constitution allows De Lima to invoke executive privilege if she still wishes not to reveal Napoles' list.
Macalintal also cited the Supreme Court ruling on former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's Executive Order 464, which barred government officials under the executive branch from testifying in legislative inquiries without express permission from the President.
In April 2006, the high court ruled EO 464 was constitutional as far as the need for presidential consent is concerned but said it cannot be used to prevent other government officials from testifying at congressional hearings in aid of legislation.
Arroyo revoked EO 464 in 2008.
De Lima previously rejected calls to make the list public, saying the list was still undergoing proper vetting process and verification. – with a report from Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News