Escudero, Guingona want Napoles to face Senate probe

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MANILA, 29Aug2013 (PNA) – Now that Janet Lim Napoles has surrendered, Senator Francis Escudero said he would like to request the alleged mastermind of the P10-billion priority development assistance fund (PDAF) scam to show up in the ongoing Senate inquiry upon approval of the court.

”I’m planning to request for her presence but it should go through the decision of the court,” Escudero said on Thursday.

Escudero explained that the court has jurisdiction over Napoles after the court issued warrant of arrest against her.

Napoles surrendered to President Benigno Aquino III last Wednesday night and now detained at the Camp Crame.

Senate blue ribbon committee chairman Teofisto Guingona III also believes that Napoles’ presence in the Senate inquiry “is very important.”

”Everybody wants to hear from her regarding this controversy,” Guingona said after the first Senate investigation on Thursday.

The first Senate hearing focused on the alleged ‘bogus’ non-government organizations (NGOs) which, according to Commission on Audit (COA) chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan, have been authorized by at least four senators to receive PDAF from them.

According to the COA special audit report, the NGOs with questionable documents include Agri and Economic Program for Farmers Foundation, Inc.; Agriculture Para sa Magbubukid Foundation, Inc.; Countrywide Agri and Rural Economic Development, Inc; Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundation; People’s Organization for Progress and Development Foundation, Inc.; Philippine Agri and Social Economic Development Foundation Inc., Philippine Social Dev’t Foundation, Inc.; and Social Dev’t Program for Farmers Foundation, Inc.

Among the senators who allegedly authorized the release of PDAF to the questionable NGOs are former Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile and Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Gregorio Honasan II.

Escudero requested the blue ribbon panel to summon the NGOs mentioned by COA in the next Senate hearing set on Thursday next week.

Escudero, who filed the resolution calling for the Senate inquiry, also wanted to request the presence of the whistleblowers and officers of the government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) allegedly used by Napoles in requesting PDAF from the lawmakers.

The GOCCs include the National Agribusiness Corp (NABCOR), Technology Resource Center (TRC), National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC), Zamboanga del Norte Rubber Estate Corp. (ZREC) and the Philippine Forest Corp. (PhilForest).(PNA)

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