DOJ set to file pork barrel scam cases
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) is filing the first batch of complaints in relation to the misuse of lawmakers’ pork barrel with the Office of the Ombudsman on Monday, September 16.
In a media advisory Sunday evening, the counsel for the whistleblowers, Levi Baligod, said a mass for the whistleblowers will be held at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) headquarters in Manila at 11 am.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, NBI officials, the whistleblowers, Baligod will then proceed to the Office of the Ombudsman in Quezon City to file their complaints.
A source privy to the investigation said they have classified lawmakers into those who habitually misused their pork barrel and those who fell for the scam only once. They are mainly targetting those who mishandled their funds repeatedly.
A month ago, De Lima spoke about lawmakers definitely being included in the plunder and fund malversation charges, but she did not mention names.
The source told Rappler that more senators and congressmen than those initially identified by whistleblowers have been found misusing their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
Aside from double-checking the involvement of 5 senators and 23 congressmen identified in the affidavit of state witness Benhur Luy, the NBI has been tasked by President Benigno Aquino III to look into the full extent of the scam.
An inter-agency task force – headed by Ombudsman Conchitina Carpio-Morales, chief state auditor Grace Pulido-Tan, and De Lima – is building cases.
The President announced last week that the cases to be filed “not later than Monday” – the ones the DOJ is bringing to the Ombudsman September 16 – would be just the first set, indicating that more charges against more people would be expected.
During the Senate hearing on the pork barrel scam on Thursday, September 12, De Lima said the first batch of complaints would be against those involved in the PDAF scam.
According to information provided by the whistleblowers, Janet Lim-Napoles operates bogus non-governmental organizations, which lawmakers endorse to get their PDAF from implementing agencies. The NGOs in turn split the funds between the lawmakers and Napoles, without implementing projects.
The second batch of complaints, De Lima said, would be against those involved in the misuse of the P900-million Malampaya Fund accessed by Napoles through the Department of Agrarian Reform.
A source privy to the investigations told Rappler earlier that so far 49 individuals, including Napoles, would be charged with plunder or malversation of funds.
Rappler's own investigation found at least 49 lawmakers whose PDAF coursed through the National Agri-Business Corporation were found to have been misused by NGOs over a 5-year period, from 2007-2011.
At that time, the source said investigators were classifying lawmakers into “recidivists” and those who dipped their finger into the scam only once – “mga tumikim lang minsan.”
A special audit of the PDAF by the Commission on Audit found that P6 billion in lawmakers’ pork barrel were misused between 2007 and 2009. It identified at least 12 senators and 180 congressmen and congresswomen whose PDAFs were channelled to dubious NGOs.
De Lima and Ombudsman Morales had given assurances that they would prosecute lawmakers regardless of their party affiliation. – Rappler.com