HOUSE URGED TO CONDUCT OWN PORK SCAM PROBE

THE House Independent Minority bloc, led by Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, has challenged the House leadership to prove that it is not hiding anything or not coddling its allies involved in the pork-barrel fund scam by holding its own inquiry on the issue.

According to Romualdez, the continued refusal of the House leadership to open an inquiry on the pork barrel would only show that it wants to protect administration allies who allegedly got kickbacks from the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund.

“Kasi ang nangyayari basta nalang tahamik ang House leadership, ang dating sa labas parang may tinatago,” he said.

The Minority group, Romualdez said, would continue to remind the House leadership of its duty and what should be done based on the clamor of the people.

In this case there is a need to have a separate House inquiry to determine the veracity of lists of lawmakers involved in the P10-billion “pork” scam, purportedly manipulated by detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.

Romualdez also said the House leadership should not be lukewarm to calls for an investigation as this would be a good chance for those who are innocent to clear their names.

“Marami sa Congress na walang kinalaman, pero dahil sa walang investigation o clarification, sangkot lahat,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza said Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. should favorably act on the clamor of the people.

“This is not just the clamor of the Minority. This is not just an issue  pertaining to our issues against them; it’s the whole nation now clamoring for the opening up of the list telling the whole world who are these people included,” Atienza said.

Meanwhile, Malacañang denied having a hand behind a reported grand design to expedite issuance of the arrest warrants against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Bong Revilla in connection with their links in the multi-billion-peso worth pork-barrel scam.

In fact, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte tossed the issue to the Sandiganbayan amid reports that the Office of the Ombudsman has already released their initial  findings on the PDAF scandal.

Valte said:”We do not have that information, at this point. It would be entirely dependent on the Sandiganbayan. Kasi, siyempre, while the Ombudsman already has their findings, I understand that other respondents filed a motion for reconsideration. At wala po yata si Ombudsman. Umalis po yata for official business so if ever that maisampa na po ‘yan sa Sandiganbayan, it will be the Sandiganbayan that will still decide if warrant should be issued,” Valte said.

This developed as Valte insisted that the issue of immunity for Napoles is premature.

She said there is nothing certain yet for Napoles since she has yet to  complete her affidavit.

“I think, at this point, wala pa hong kalinawan. Katulad niyan, ‘yung affidavit pa naman ho niya ay hindi pa nila tinatapos at hindi pa ho naisusumite ng buo. So at this point, we really don’t know and, perhaps, mahirap na rin pong mag-speculate diyan lalo na ini-evaluate pa ho ng DoJ ‘yung mga papeles at ‘yung kabuuan nung affidavit na isusumite niya,”Valte said.

She said that the Ombudsman has yet to finalize its stand on whether or not to grant immunity or accept Napoles as state witness even as the Department of Justice has yet to evaluate all evidences on the case, including the  discrepancies in the three  versions of the “Napolist” identifying several  lawmakers tagged as  scammers in the multi billion pork scam.publishe :Sunday May 18,2014 People’s Tonight/Jester Manalastas

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