Senators okay arrest order vs Paule
Majority of the senators have approved the immediate arrest and three-day detention at the Pasay City Jail of businessman Jaime "Jimmy" Paule for giving false and evasive testimonies on his alleged involvement in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam.
Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon said 18 members of the Senate blue ribbon committee which he chairs have signed the resolution citing Paule in contempt for falsely and evasively testifying during the hearings on Jan. 20 and 26.
"For testifying falsely and evasively before the (Senate blue ribbon) committee� thereby delaying, impeding and obstructing the inquiry into the subject reported irregularities in the implementation of the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani Program," the order read.
Gordon explained that Paule aggravated his lies when he implied that the photograph presented to him during a committee hearing was fabricated by "modern techniques".
"For his blatant show of disrespect during the hearing of Jan. 26, 2009 when, presented by the Chairman with photographic evidence, he had the gall and the temerity to deny the authenticity of the photograph even when four other witnesses had testified that the event captured therein indeed transpired," he said..
Upon Gordon's recommendation, the arrest order was signed by 16 other members of the committee and approved by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
Among those who signed the arrest order are Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri, Aquilino Pimentel Jr., Gregorio Honasan, Ramon Revilla Jr., Edgardo Angara, Panfilo Lacson, Ma. Ana Consuelo Madrigal, Mar Roxas, Rodolfo Biazon, Loren Legarda, Manuel Lapid, Francis Escudero, Francis Pangilinan, Pia Cayetano, Joker Arroyo, and Alan Peter Cayetano.
Only Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago, Antonio Trillanes and Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada did not sign the arrest order. Santiago is on an indefinite leave, Trillanes under detention, while Estrada is reportedly recuperating in the hospital.
Gordon said Paule would be detained at the Pasay City Jail for three days.
Paule has earned the ire of the committee members after he failed to satisfactorily answer queries about his alleged participation in the alleged anomalous farm input-farm implement project amounting to some P728 million.
During the Jan. 26 hearing, Paule has repeatedly denied knowing Marylene Araos, Feshan Philippines president Julie Gregorio, and Feshan vice-president Reden Antolin, even as he was shown a photo with them during Leonicia Llarena's birthday celebration.
Paule also denied having any part in the planning and implementation of the project, even when Araos, Llarena and Marites Aytona all point to him as the one giving out orders to them.
Aytona told the senators that it was Paule who would tell which foundations would be accredited for the project and that other instructions in its implementation would come from him.
Llarena, owner of Dane Publishing, also testified that it was Paule who approached him to seek assistance in issuing checks for the project. Both Llarena and Paule and their respective families had been friends for some time.
Araos, for her part, admitted she was ordered by Paule to open a bank account for Feshan Philippines, the biggest supplier of the project, and sign blank checks for the firm, threatening her that she would lose her job if she would refuse to do so.
Further evidence against Paule are at least three Feshan checks endorsed to him as proven by the markings "c/o Mr. Paule" written at the back of the checks.