NAPOLES MUST FACE HOUSE SOLONS — WHILE the House independent minority bloc, led by Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, joined the leadership in proclaiming a positive first regular session, it was unhappy over the pork barrel issue that has tarnished the reputation of the Lower Chamber.

According to Romualdez, the refusal of the House leaders to conduct an inquiry into the pork barrel scam and to call alleged mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles to a hearing has left the issue hanging and the lawmakers being linked to the scandal under a cloud of suspicion.

“As we adjourn sine die, we are saddened by the thought that the reputations of some of our colleagues remain suspect for their supposed involvement in the scam,” Romualdez said.

Napoles and whistleblower Benhur Luy have named as many as 80 incumbent and former members of the House as among those who had allegedly earned kickbacks from the fund anomaly.

Romualdez lamented that lawmakers never got the opportunity to confront her over her maligning them in national media, all because the House leadership never allowed an invitation or a subpoena to be sent to Mrs. Napoles for questioning.

The House Independent Minority bloc has repeatedly filed resolutions and even appealed to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to conduct a House inquiry into the misuse of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

The group wanted Napoles to testify and present evidence to prove that these lawmakers earned huge kickbacks from the multi-billion peso scam.

Reports said that some lawmakers had allocated their pork barrel to the fake non-government organizations (NGOs) founded by Napoles.

“As we have been saying all along, Napoles has no right to hold hostage the reputations of some of our colleagues indefinitely,” Romualdez said.

The solon said the group will continue to pursue its objective in the second regular session.

“When the House starts its Second Regular session next month, we in the bloc will go all-out in pursuing these issues and anything else of similar national importance that will crop up in the coming days,” Romualdez said.JESTER P. MANALASTAS

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