MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said the list of lawmakers implicated in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam in 2013 should be revisited.
After saying that he would be reading a second list of police and judges linked to the illegal drug trade, Duterte said in a press conference early Sunday morning, August 21, “In between, far and wide in this controversy, I will now raise again the Napoles issue.”
The President was referring to Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the misuse of lawmakers’ pork barrel or the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). (READ: Pork Tales: A story of corruption)
Napoles, in an affidavit after surrendering in August 2013, produced a list of senators and congressmen who took advantage of these discretionary funds and benefited from the scam. (FACT CHECK: Making sense of the Napoles lists)
Duterte explained that this is part of his deal with the Filipino electorate to stop corruption in government.
“There are billions and billions of pesos lost. We’ve been able just only to put several lawmakers inside, but only because the charge, the accusation is non-bailable,” Duterte noted.
Some legislators and agents had been charged and are already in detention – like former senators Ramon Revilla Jr and Jinggoy Estrada – but Duterte said, “That is not enough vindication for the Filipino people.”
“I have some revealing things to tell you about it. You just wait,” he added. “The Napoles case should deserve a second look.”
Months after the pork barrel scam unraveled, the PDAF was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in November 2013. – Rappler.com