Napoles summoned to Nov 7 Senate hearing

Posted at 10/21/2013 11:00 AM | Updated as of 10/21/2013 1:56 PM

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) – Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Teofisto "TG" Guingona III have signed the subpoena for alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.

In a subpoena ad testificandum, the Senate ordered Napoles to appear before the Senate on November 7, 10 a.m.

Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Jose Balajadia Jr. has been ordered to serve the subpoena within the day, Guingona said in a press conference.

Guingona said he does not see any valid reason why the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150, which currently has custody over the person of Napoles, would not allow the latter's appearance.

"The one that must address the security concern is the police, not the judge," Guingona added when asked if the safety of Napoles can become a ground for the court to disallow her appearance.

Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, Blue Ribbon committee vice chairman, earlier said the Senate is open to conduct a hearing in either Napoles' detention facility in Fort Sto. Domingo in Laguna or any other secure place if concerns over her safety would be raised.

Meanwhile, Guingona said he is more amenable to have Napoles appear before the Senate only once.

"I'd like to think that because of the amount of coordination involved, it might be better just to have her once here," he said.

Guingona said Napoles is expected to appear before the Senate along with pork barrel scam whistle-blowers "so we can have a system of checks and balances, and whatever is stated can be validated or repudiated."

The whistle-blowers summoned to the hearing include Benhur Luy, his mother Gertrudes, Marina Sula, Merlina Suñas, Mary Arlene Baltazar and Simonette Briones.

He said the committee has yet to assess whether to conclude the hearings after the testimony of Napoles.

Napoles is currently detained at the Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna in connection with the serious illegal detention case filed by Luy.

The Makati RTC Branch 150 earlier ordered the transfer of Napoles to Fort Sto. Domingo, which serves as the headquarters of the Special Action Forces of the Philippine National Police (PNP), due to security concerns. – with a report from Ruby Tayag, dzMM