Cayetano denies any link to Napoles

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano

MANILA — Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter S. Cayetano vehemently denied having any link to the alleged P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam, saying principal whistleblower Benhur Luy himself declared that Cayetano refused to deal with suspected fund scam brains Janet Lim Napoles.

Because of this fresh allegations, Cayetano pressed the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chaired by Sen. Teofisto Guingona III to resume its probe into the PDAF scam and summon Napoles to appear before the panel so he could confront her on her baseless allegations against him.

Based on an Excel file entry of Luy’s files that were made public by the Senate Committee on Accountability, it appears that cash advances were handed over to Cayetano as the “proponent” of a project with regards to the supply of communication equipment supposedly implemented under or by the “DOTC” when he was still a congressman representing Pateros-Taguig. The same document shows an entry of an amount of “3,000,000”; “SARO: Released; “Remarks: Waiting NCA.”

RELEASED IN TRANCHES

The “cash advances” appeared to be divided into tranches with the first tranche “500,000.00” delivered on “4/25/2003”; “50,000.00” delivered on “4/28/2003”; “25,000.00” delivered on “8/25/2003”; “37,500” delivered on “8/26/2003”, “27,125.00” delivered on “9/8/2003.” The total cash totaled to “639,625.00.”

Napoles, in her sworn statement alleged that the projects “were implemented through Tito Boy,”  reportedly an uncle of Cayetano who also allegedly acts as his agent.

Napoles further  revealed, “the project did not push through because we had a disagreement on the rebate. They were asking for a bigger rebate that’s why they returned the money I had advanced to Tito Boy.  When I got the money back it was not complete.”

CAMPAIGN KITTY

Also, before the 2013 elections, Napoles alleged in her statement that she and Cayetano met at Slice restaurant  at the Bonifacio Global City where she claimed to have handed cash personally to Cayetano for his campaign.

In a statement released Friday night, Cayetano’s chief of staff Shelah Famador stressed that “the information on Luy’s files detailing the supposed kickback on a DOTC (Department of Transportation and Communications) project being attributed to a certain ‘VLL’ had already been answered by Luy himself. Luy had earlier declared that Senator  Cayetano refused to deal with Napoles.”

Earlier, Cayetano thanked the whistleblowers’ lawyer Levito Baligod for clearing him of any involvement in the scam.

NOT A CENTAVO

“We reiterate Sen. Cayetano’s position that he did not receive a centavo from Napoles or any of her NGOs (non-governmental organizations),” Famador said.

She noted that Sen. Cayetano “is not new to attempts to malign his character and tarnish his good name. He has fought corruption all his life. And he will not back down now.”

Cayetano, she recalled, already opened his (office) books for scrutiny to the Commission on Audit (COA) as early as August, 2013, and asked COA to inspect his projects for any sign of corruption.

“We are confident they (COA auditors) will find nothing,” Famador said.

“We also challenge his accusers to face him in the Senate and let the truth come out,” Famador added.  She said Cayetano “can look every Filipino family in the eye because he is telling the truth.”

Aside from pressing for the continuance of a Senate PDAF probe, Cayetano also proposed that the Senate Committee on Rules be amended to allow witnesses to ask senators questions and to cross examine. He is also ready to waive his privilege to show that he has nothing to hide.

“Dito makikita ng tao kung sino ang guilty at inosente,” said Cayetano.

BEGIN MALAMPAYA PROBE

Cayetano also joined Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Ejercito Estrada  in his call for the Senate to begin its probe on the Malampaya fund scam where socialite Ruby Tuason reportedly raked in about P240 million but only returned P40 million when she applied to become a state witness.

Aside from Malampaya, Cayetano also wanted the Senate to reopen the Fertilizer fund scandal to show Napoles’ involvement in these fund irregularities during the Arroyo administration.

UPBEAT

Notwithstanding the public disclosure of the list of personalities allegedly involved in the P10-billion pork barrel scam, the majority bloc in the House of Representatives remain upbeat about the chance of Aquino allies in the 2016 elections.

Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga said it is the opposition, not the administration allies, who are likely to get the wrath of the public angered by the widespread pork barrel anomalies that started in 2000.

Barzaga said that with only 20 out of the 290 incumbent congressmen being linked to the fraud, there is no reason why House members would be demoralized by the continued refusal of Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to allow a congressional probe of the issue.

“Since the national elections are fast approaching, it seems that it is the minority and/or the opposition who are demoralized since the Ombudsman has already determined the existence of probable cause against politicians of national stature belonging to the opposition,” Barzaga said, referring to Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Bong Revilla.

Meanwhile, Malacañang said it is unfair for critics to conclude that Commission on Audit (COA) Chairman Grace Pulido Tan would not be objective in probing the so-called “Napolist” owing to her being an appointee of President Aquino as well as her being a candidate for a post at the Supreme Court.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. stressed that the COA is an independent constitutional body, even though the law mandates that its commissioners and chairman are appointed by the President