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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Philippines-Escudero bats for Napoles’ written interrogatory in pork barrel scam probe

Senator Francis Escudero said the detained businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles could opt to send her “written interrogatory” to the Blue Ribbon Committee while the Senate and the Ombudsman decide on whether to send the alleged mastermind behind the P10 billion to the hot seat in the Blue Ribbon committee hearing.
“It is an option but not an alternative to Napoles giving her personal testimony to the Senate,” said Escudero in a radio interview.
An interrogatory is a formal questionnaire or inquiry to individuals involved in a legal case and is prepared by his or her counsel.
Escudero said that the Senate should subpoena Napoles’ written interrogatory, especially after her lawyer, Lorna Kapunan, revealed that she has prepared one for her client.
Escudero previously sought to invite Napoles and the whistle-blowers in the P10 billion pork barrel scam. But while the whistleblowers had already faced the Blue Ribbon committee members, the Senate was divided on getting Napoles’ personal testimony during an Ombudsman investigation of the case.
Senate President Franklin Drilon has come under fire for siding with Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales who was against Napoles’ testimony in the Senate “at this time” because it would not produce “complete, nay reliable information that legislation intends to affect or change.” Kapunan also maintained that her client would tell all in the Ombudsman and not in the Senate, which she described as a “carnival.”
But Cavite Rep. Elpido Barzaga, a lawyer, said that getting Napoles’ written interrogatory would be pointless in a Senate inquiry meant to aid legislative work. Barzaga said such a “one-way document” could prove damaging to the senators she would name in her testimony because they would have no chance to cross-examine her or make clarifications. “I still believe that Napoles’ testimony, given personally, is the only way,” said Barzaga in a phone interview.
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