MANILA, 7Nov2013 (PNA) – Senator Teofisto Guingona III on Thursday appealed to Janet Lim Napoles, alleged mastermind of the pork barrel scam, to cooperate with the Blue Ribbon Committee to bare the truth behind the misused of the P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
”Some said nothing will happen even with your appearance because they said you will not cooperate in searching for the truth. Now, Ms. Napoles prove that they are wrong. Use this opportunity to help the country,” Guingona said in his opening statement in the sixth Senate inquiry into the pork scandal.
”This is an opportunity for you to tell to us and the whole nation if the accusations of the whistleblowers are correct and use this opportunity to prove to the nation that you are still concern with the Filipino people seeking for truth,” he added.
The Senate hearing started at 10 a.m. but after his opening speech, Guingona called for a 45-minute break to give Napoles a chance to confer with the three lawyers assigned by the Public Attorney Office (PAO) after Napoles’ lawyer Atty. Lorna Capunan withdrew.
The PAO lawyers requested by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee included Howard Areza, Marlon Buan and Analiza Soriano.
For the first time since the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam broke out, Napoles met whistleblowers Benhur Luy and Gertrudes Luy, Mary Arlene Baltazar, Marina Sula, Merlina Suna and Simonette Briones.
Rene Cartera Villa, chairman of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), was also present as former lawyer of Napoles.
Aside from Guingona, other senators present are JV Ejercito, Nancy Binay, Antonio Trillanes IV, Bam Aquino, Sonny Angara, Senate President Franklin Drilon, Majority Leader Alan Cayetano, Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Grace Poe.
The six whistleblowers and Napoles arrived at the Senate session hall on Thursday wearing bullet-proof vests and about 10 to 15 minutes after the hearing started at 10:00 a.m.
The whistleblowers were accompanied by Justice Secretary Leila De Lima and a few other officials.(PNA)