Press Release
December 21, 2008

Senate to hear Aytona's testimony

The Senate blue ribbon committee will hear tomorrow (Dec. 22) at 10 am the testimony of Marites Aytona on her alleged involvement in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam as the panel continues its probe into the anomalous project.

Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon, committee chair, said although the Senate is now on its Christmas break, the panel decided to hold a special hearing on the alleged irregular fertilizer project after Aytona's surrender last Thursday.

"This is Ms. Aytona's chance to clear her name. But she has to be ready because certainly a lot of questions will be thrown at her. We only want to hear the truth, and we do hope she would cooperate with our investigation," he said.

Gordon said Aytona, the "packager" of proposals on the fertilizer project, should prepare herself for tough grilling by the members of the Senate blue ribbon committee especially that she has snubbed the Senate hearings several times.

The committee had sent summonses for Aytona to attend the Nov. 28, Dec. 10 and Dec. 17 hearings but had failed to show up in all those dates despite promises that she would.

As a result, the Senate blue ribbon committee, after the hearing on Dec. 17, cited Aytona for contempt and ordered her arrest and detention at the Pasay City Jail.

However, Aytona's brother, Ramon, went to the Senate that night to explain that his sister's absence on the hearing was due to an incident where they were accosted by an armed motorcycle-riding man while on their way to the Senate.

Gordon said Aytona's camp kept in touch with him since then and decided to surrender herself to the Senate's custody as she expressed fears for her life.

"She may have her reasons for not attending the hearings, but after several absences it's really hard to believe that now. I still don't believe anything until I hear her on Monday," he said.

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