Say it's not supported by evidence
MANILA - Senate President Franklin Drilon on Wednesday came to the defense of government officials and other persons on the list of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.
The list, which was submitted by former Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on Tuesday, includes the names of 11 former and incumbent senators as well as 69 former and incumbent congressmen. It also contains the names of bureaucrats and "agents" allegedly involved in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.
Speaking to radio dzMM, Drilon said it is unfair to have all these people's names dragged into the whole controversy without sufficient evidence to back up the allegations.
Drilon noted that the Napoles list submitted by Lacson merely enumerated names, and did not provide any details regarding the government officials' alleged anomalous transactions with Napoles.
"Yung listahan puro pangalan eh, walang malinaw na detalye, walang dokumento. Eh hindi po naman yata tama na ilabas yang mga pangalan na walang basehan dahil ang reputasyon ng tao ang nakasalalay," he said.
He said the list must be backed up by evidence, so that those implicated may also be able to defend themselves.
"Kung sino ang nagkasala ay dapat humarap sa husgado at iharap ang mga ebidensiya laban sa kanila para mapatunayan kung ano talaga ang nangyari... Dapat sundin natin ang sistema na kung saan may ebidensiya, yun ang dapat sundan," he said.
"At kung mapapatunayang nagkasala, ipakulong," he added.
Drilon said it is now up to Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Teofisto "TG" Guingona III if he will again summon Napoles to shed light on the list her camp gave to Lacson as well as the two other pork scam lists handed to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Whistleblowers Association of the Philippines president Sandra Cam.
CHIZ: NAPOLES JUST TAKING REVENGE ON ME
According to Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero, he is baffled as to why Lacson, de Lima, and Cam have allowed themselves to act as "messengers" for Napoles.
"Bakit ba nagpapagamit ang ilang tao dito kay Napoles... Tuloy nabibigyan ng kredibilidad [si Napoles]," he told radio dzMM.
Escudero, who is one of the 11 senators included in Napoles' list, believes the businesswoman just included his name to take revenge on him.
He noted that he was the one who asked the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to summon Napoles in connection with the scam. He is also one of the senators pushing for her transfer from Fort Sto. Domingo in Laguna to an ordinary jail.
"Siguro pambawi at pambalik yan, pandamay at panggulo," he said.
He pointed out that while his name was included in Napoles' list, his name was not mentioned in the businesswoman's affidavit, which was also submitted by Lacson to the Senate on Tuesday. Both the list and the affidavit were not signed by Napoles.
He said his name was also not included in key whistleblower Benhur Luy's list.
"Pano ko ba mapapatunayan na hindi ako at wala akong kinalaman diyan at inosente ako diyan? Siguro ho dapat yung nag-aakusa ay siya po ang magpatunay," he said.
Escudero said the husband of Napoles, Jaime, must also be investigated since he was the one who gave the list to Lacson.
"Diyan din ako nagtataka, ni walang kaso yan si Jaime Napoles. Ni hindi siya kinasuhan, ni hindi siya inimbistigahan. Eh yun pala may alam siya dahil sa kanya nanggaling yung listahan."
"For the first time sa dyaryo kahapon, sa ledger ni [Benhur] Luy, may P200,000 pala siyang tinanggap bilang commission sa isang transaksyon sa DA (Department of Agriculture). Dapat siguro tingnan yan ng DOJ (Department of Justice)," he said.
NO DISCUSSION ON SENATORS' ARREST
Meanwhile, the Senate President denied that he met with Philippine National Police (PNP) - Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief Director Benjamin Magalong ahead of the expected issuance of arrest warrants by the Sandiganbayan for Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr.
"Hindi po nakipagmeeting sa akin... Wala po akong kautusan, wala po silang parating sa akin," Drilon said.
Nonetheless, he said the Senate will not resist the three's arrest.
"Yan po ay susundin namin. We will not stand in the way. We will allow the arrest. We will follow the order of the Sandiganbayan," Drilon said.