Independent body, not Senate, should investigate Napoles list – OFW anti-pork coalition

DEPORK! (Overseas Filipinos Demand the Abolition of Pork) alliance today said that in light of the public release of Janet Lim Napoles’ affidavit, an independent body and not the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee should verify and investigate Napoles’ sworn testimony.

“While we recognize and respect the demands of some senators to be given the chance to face Napoles and explain their side, we also realize that since incumbent senators, Cabinet members and other lawmakers and officials have been named by Napoles as beneficiaries of the pork barrel scam, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee should inhibit as a body in the ongoing pork barrel investigations. Instead, it is most prudent to form an independent investigating body to avoid conflict of interest,” said Lito Soriano, DEPORK convenor.

For her part, Connie Bragas-Regalado, co-convenor of DEPORK, proposed that such an independent body should consist of personalities chosen by different sectors, stakeholders and movers in the broad anti-pork movement.

“To ensure that there will be no white-wash or cover-up, an independent investigating body should not be dominated by government appointees, especially since big administration allies like Abad and Alcala have also ben included in the list.  The Department of Justice would do well to consult with broad multisectoral and sectoral anti-pork coalitions on who they think the public would trust to conduct an objective investigation and form concrete recommendations to the Ombudsman,” Bragas-Regalado said.

Soriano said that they are open to hold public consultations with overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Filipino communities abroad and their families here in the Philippines to conduct surveys on who the migrant sector deems should be included in the independent investigating body.

DEPORK! will join the #abolishpork movement’s Black Friday Protest on May 30.

DEPORK! convenors are former Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Admin. Atty. Carlos Cao, Former Labor Sec. Marianito Roque, Comm. (Ret.) Dante Jimenez, Secretary-General of the Philippine Association of Maritime Institutions (PAMI) and founding president of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), Migrante International Chairperson Garry Martinez, Lito Soriano of LBS Recruitment Solutions Corp., Atty. Edwin dela Cruz of the International Seafarers Action Center (ISAC), Migrante Partylist chairperson Connie Bragas-Regalado, Rev. Mirasol Villalon from the National-in-mission for Victims of Human Trafficking, OFWs and their Families-United Methodist Church and Bishop Bart Espartero of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente. ###

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