Press Release
September 17, 2013


Senator Chiz Escudero said senate should continue with its investigation on the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) rip off despite the filing of plunder charges against some senators, congressmen and individuals in the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

"We did the same in the case of AFP General Carlos Garcia. His case was already before the Sandiganbayan and it was already in the plea bargaining stage. We went on with the senate investigation."

Escudero, chairman of the senate committee on finance said senate, in sustaining its own investigation, affords the public the venue to be informed with the facts of the case through testimonies under oath.

"The senate remains to be the only venue where the citizens can very much acquaint themselves with the goings-on of this case from the witnesses and key players themselves. This has become equally important to the people because they now become more vigilant to demand to know where and how the government utilize the taxes they pay."

The senator added that there are still many facts to be had surrounding the siphoning of lawmakers funds to bogus organizations.

"The uncovering of the Napoles-NGO operandi does not close the issue, but of course this is where we take off. Rather, it opened a whole wide door about other NGOs, 82 as reported in the Commission on Audit report. There are only 8 Napoles-related NGOs; we'd like to find out how the remaining 74 operates. It follows the same operation and pattern as the Napoles group and the amount involved is more staggering than what is being looked at now."

Escudero, the principal author who asked the senate to probe the scandal had asked the committee to call for Janet Lim Napoles, tagged as the mastermind of the scam. Other whistleblowers and key personalities already mentioned in Luy's narration should also be called before the senate, he said.

"I have asked the committee to invite Napoles. I also spoke with Chairman TG Guingona about it. The court has the jurisdiction over her. Whether it grants our request or not is totally up to the court. But let it not be said that the senate did not pursue it."

During last week's hearing, Escudero requested for the appearance of the manager of Metrobank's Magdalena branch where Napoles was said to have made a onetime withdrawal worth P75 million.

"A withdrawal this huge is a cause for red flag from the bank to the AMLAC. The withdrawal may have been reported to the AMLAC as an automatic procedure. But what we'd like to know is if this withdrawal was reported by the bank under the 'know your client rule' by the BSP. Under the rule, the bank manager must know Napoles personally and what she does for a living. The sources of the big amounts she withdraw must be known to the manager. The fund from the treasury goes to an NGO account and then moved to Napoles'. There is an illegal and dubious pattern already that should have raised the red lights."

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