HIGHLIGHTS: Napoles testifies at the Senate
MANILA, Philippines - On Thursday, November 7, Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind, testifies before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
Watch highlights from the hearing below.
In September 2013, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee began investigations on the widespread misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). The scam involves senators and congressmen funnelling funds to bogus non-government organizations in exchange for kickbacks. Napoles allegedly pocketed millions of pork barrel funds in the process.
The committee had wanted to summon Napoles as early as September. Senate president Franklin Drilon said he will heed the advice of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and refused to sign the subpoena. The Ombudsman had cautioned that the publicity from Napoles’ testimony will “adversely affect public interest, prejudice the safety of witnesses or the disposition of cases against her." (READ: Drilon, senators clash on Napoles testimony)
Drilon eventually gave in to pressure and signed the subpoena on October 21. He said, “It is unfortunate that my decision to adhere to the advice of Ombudsman Carpio Morales… has been misconstrued as an effort to hide the truth.” (READ: Drilon: I will sign subpoena for Napoles)
Two days before her testimony, Napoles sent a letter to Drilon and to Senate blue ribbon committee chairman Teofisto Guingona III requesting that the hearing be moved, citing the resignation of her lawyer Lorna Kapunan last week. The committee turned down her request, assuring her that she will be provided lawyers from the Public Attorney's Office. (READ: Napoles wants Senate testimony moved)
Napoles will face the whistleblowers in the pork barrel scam: Benhur Luy, Gertrudes Luy, Marina Sula, Merlina Suñas, Simonette Briones and Mary Arlene Baltazar.
Read real-time updates from the hearing from Rapplers Ayee Macaraig and Natashya Gutierrez, Senate blue ribbon committee chairman Teofisto Guingona III, and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago from our live blog below: