Senate: Plunder for 3 pork senators

Ayee Macaraig
Guingona on the results of the Senate probe: Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr, and Jinggoy Estrada 'planned, conspired and benefitted from public money'

PLUNDER CONSPIRACY. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman TG Guingona says the 3 senators and Napoles committed conspiracy to plunder public funds. Photo by Adrian Portugal/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – The Senate blue ribbon committee recommended the filing of plunder charges against Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr over the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, April 1, committee chairman Teofisto “TG” Guingona III announced that his panel found sufficient basis to recommend the filing of plunder and other criminal cases against his 3 colleagues along with alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.

Guingona said the committee found that the 4 players and others involved in the scam committed a conspiracy to pocket public funds.

Natuklasan natin ang pera ng bayan napagplanuhan, may ginawang plano, at nagkaroon ng sabwatan, pinagpasasaan ang pera. Pinagplanuhan, pinagkaisahan, pinagsasaan ang pera ng bayan,” Guingona said. (We found that public funds were the subject of a conspiracy for the players to benefit from the money. They planned, conspired and benefitted from public money.) 

Shortly after Guingona’s press briefing, the Ombudsman announced the filing of plunder charges against the 3 senators and Napoles. 

Among the charges Guingona recommended against the 3 senators are:

  • Plunder or malversation (depending on the amount)
  • Direct bribery
  • Fraud against the public treasury and similar offenses
  • Violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act
  • Violating the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees

For Napoles, the recommended charges are:

  • Plunder or malversation (depending on the amount)
  • Corruption of public officials
  • Fraud against the public treasury
  • Violation of the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act, fraud against the public treasury
  • False testimony.

The multi-billion peso scam is the biggest corruption scandal in recent Philippine history. The lawmakers are accused of siphoning off their pork barrel funds to Napoles’ fake non-governmental organizations in exchange for kickbacks. 

Guingona said the accused took the following steps in an elaborate plot to plunder public funds: creation of bogus NGOs, negotiation between Napoles and the lawmakers regarding the kickbacks, implementation of the scheme, and splitting of the loot. 

“The use of a voucher system shows the sophistication of their system: white for the original ledger, yellow for accounting, and pink for the lawmaker.”

Others recommended to be charged are Enrile’s former chief of staff, lawyer Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, Estrada’s former appointments secretary Pauline Labayen and Revilla’s political staff Richard Cambe.

The committee also recommended the filing of charges against former heads of implementing agencies. The Senate wants the following charges against former National Agribusiness Corporation President Alan Javellana and former Technology Resource Center (TRC) director general Antonio Ortiz:

  • Plunder or malversation (depending on the amount)
  • Direct bribery
  • Fraud against the public treasury and similar offenses
  • Violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act
  • Violating the Government Procurement Reform Act
  • Violating the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees

The panel though recommended more investigation into the liability of former members of the House of Representatives, with Guingona saying they were not summoned to the Senate probe. They are:

  • Rep. Rizalina Seachon-Lanete and her agent Jose Sumalpong
  • Former Rep. Edgar Valdez
  • Former Rep. Rodolfo Plaza
  • Former Rep. Samuel Dangwa
  • Former Rep. Constantino Jaraula

PERSONS LIABLE. Guingona presents a Powerpoint slide of the persons who were part of the conspiracy in the pork barrel scam. Photo by Adrian Portugal/Rappler

Guingona recommended further investigation for Napoles’ family and friends that the whistleblowers named:

  • Jo Christine Napoles
  • Reynald “Jojo” Lim
  • Ronaldo Francisco Lim
  • Evelyn Ditchon De Leon
  • Nova Kaye Dulay
  • Jaime Garcia Napoles
  • James Christopher Lim
  • Jeane Catherine Lim
  • Jane Catherine Lim Napoles
  • John Christian Lim Napoles
  • Rosita Kawson Co
  • John Raymund de Asis
  • Felimon Agustin
  • Simplicio Gumafelix
  • Vanessa Eman
  • Jocelyn Piorato
  • Nemesio Pablo
  • Mylene Encarnacion
  • Genevieve Uy
  • John Raymund De Asis
  • Lilian Espanol
  • Jesus Castillo
  • Eulogio Rodriguez
  • Lorna Ramirez
  • Evelyn De Leon
  • Ronald John Lim, and others that may be later identified 

The Senate also recommended further investigation of the alleged involvement of the following:

  • Enrile’s deputy chief of staff Jose Antonio Evangelista
  • Former ZNAC Rubber Estate Corp. (ZREC) head Salvador Salacup
  • Former ZREC official Ophelia Agawin
  • Gigi Buenaventura and Alexis Sevidal of the National Livelihood Development Corp (NLDC)
  • Former Metrobank branch Manager Winnie Villanueva, Napoles’ friend.

The committee left it up to the Ombudsman to decide on the “fitness” of granting immunity to self-confessed scam bagman Ruby Tuason and TRC director general-on-leave Dennis Cunanan.

After the press briefing, the committee gave copies of the report to the senators for their signature.

Guingona refused to answer questions from reporters but concluded his briefing by saying, “Let justice be done though the heavens fall.” 

COMMITTEE REPORT. These copies of the blue ribbon committee report are circulated to senators for signature. Photo by Adrian Portugal/Rappler

 

Here is a copy of the report:

– Rappler.com 


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