Malampaya probe reset

malampayaMANILA, Philippines—The Senate inquiry into the alleged misuse of P900 million in Malampaya natural gas funds involving accused pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles has been delayed yet again after the Senate blue ribbon committee deferred the initial hearing scheduled for Thursday.

Blue ribbon panel chair Teofisto Guingona III said on Saturday he decided to reset the Sept. 25 hearing as Commission on Audit Chair Grace Pulido Tan and COA special audits chief Susan Garcia would be away on that date.

“Postponement, yes… I received a letter from COA Chair Tan that she will be on official leave on that day and Susan Garcia will also be on official mission,” said Guingona in a phone interview.

He said he had invited the COA executives as “it is best to start with official government reports” in cases involving the alleged misuse of state funds. He had previously reset the hearing also due to the unavailability of a COA resource person.

Guingona said the deferment had nothing to do with the ongoing inquiry into the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building II by a blue ribbon subcommittee.

Subcommittee chair Aquilino Pimentel III said in a separate text message the next hearing on the alleged overprice of the Makati building in which Vice President Jejomar Binay is a principal figure would push through on Thursday.

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