NAPOLES holding palace hostage
Published : Monday, May 26, 2014 00:00
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THE Palace should not allow itself to be held hostage by several lists of politicians implicated in the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam allegedly masterminded by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles by imposing a “deadline” on the filing of complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, a lawyer and head of the House Independent Minority bloc, said Malacañang has lost its grip on the situation and Napoles seemingly has the upper hand especially with the statement of deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte that the Palace is willing to wait for the complete affidavit of Napoles, stressing demands and conditions, such as immunity for her children, could not be discussed without it.
“They should get a grip of the situation by providing closure. They should give themselves a timeline, but I am not going to tell them what to do. There should be deadline for the list, deadline for investigation, and deadline for the filing of charges. They should give the people a timeline and stick to it, otherwise this will be never ending,” Romualdez said.
“They should not allow the proliferation of lists whether signed, verified or not verified. They should put some closure to this,” Romualdez said.
Romualdez explained Napoles and his lawyers have been very successful in confusing the public by implicating so many institutions in the scam, including Church people and well-known media personalities.
“The presence of so many lists is already casting doubt and aspersions on the integrity and the credibility of the real list and earlier revelations. Nakakalito na,” said Romualdez who opposed the request for immunity
for Napoles and her children.
Cavite Rep. Elpidio “Pidi” Barzaga Jr., a veteran lawyer and head of the National Unity Party (NUP); Parañaque City Rep. Gus Tambunting, and Marikina City Rep. Miro Quimbo agreed with Romualdez that Napoles’ demands should not be entertained she being the alleged “architect of the pork barrel scam.”
“Napoles does not have the right to choose against whom charges shall be filed. Consequently, her request to spare her children from prosecution has no basis in fact and in law and therefore certainly misplaced. As the President has repeatedly said to whoever the evidence shall point to, criminal charges shall be filed. Therefore, if there is evidence proving that Napoles’ children participated in the grand conspiracy to steal billions of public funds in the pork barrel scam in spite of the present plea of Napoles to spare her children, justice demands that her children should be included in the criminal complaint,” Barzaga stressed.
Tambunting said “if her children are involved, as possibly indicated by the fact that they are incorporators and directors of companies involved in the scam, then the law will not and should not distinguish.”
For his part, Quimbo said “we should always observe one rule in prosecution: follow where the evidence goes. The DoJ (Department of Justice) should not base what it should do on what Napoles says.
“Should the evidence show that the children have nothing to do with her scheme, then they (the government) shouldn’t file cases. But if there is evidence, by all means, prosecute them. What must be stressed is that the DoJ must not be swayed by what Napoles says otherwise it will only add more unwanted suspicion that Napoles has been able to dictate the pace of her prosecution, so to speak.”