FACT-CHECK: House of Representatives and the 'Napolists'
Second of 3 parts
MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – If the 4 senators who allegedly released pork barrel money to Janet Napoles' fake non-governmental organizations (NGOs) consistently appeared in all the Napoles lists being circulated, it's a different story for members of the House of Representatives.
(The 4 senators included Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr, Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile, and Gregorio Honasan.)
Some representatives identified in the Commission on Audit (COA) special report covering 2007-2009 were excluded in the 4 so-called "Napolists" – the incomplete list of Rehabilitation Secretary Panfilo Lacson, the list of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima (released on May 15), the roster of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI), and the list which was part of the new affidavit submitted by the Napoles camp on Monday, May 26.
(Editor's Note: We earlier wrote that the list of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is "essentially the May 12 affidavit of Napoles." This is not the case. De Lima's "Napoles list" is dated April 22 and was submitted to the Senate on May 15. We apologize for the error.)
According to the special audit report, a total of 34 past and present members of the House of Representatives allegedly funneled funds to the bogus Napoles NGOs. Interestingly, 9 of the 34 listed in the COA report were nowhere to be found in the 4 lists.
The 4 lists have implicated more lawmakers and personalities in the billion-peso pork barrel scam, but excluded 9 former members of Congress:
- Ma. Rachel Arenas (former Pangasinan 3rd district representative)
- Liwayway Vinzons Chatto (former Camarines Norte representative)
- Carlo Oliver Diasnes (former Batanes representative)
- Aurelio Gonzales Jr (former Pampanga 3rd district representative)
- Nur Jaafar (former Tawi-Tawi representative)
- Rodante Marcoleta (former Alagad partylist representative)
- Mariano Piamonte (former A Teacher partylist representative)
- Sandoval, Alvin (former Malabon-Navotas representative)
- Velarde, Rene (former Buhay partylist representative)
The table below shows the House representatives who appeared in the so-called "Napolists" and who were tagged in the COA special audit report. It also indicates whether plunder complaints have been filed against them.
A look at the districts represented by these lawmakers showed that operations spanned the entire country.
The combined 4 lists implicated more than 100 names of past and present members of the House of Representatives in the country's biggest corruption scandal in recent history.
Of the lawmakers listed, 40 are incumbent members of the House, including Cebu 1st district Representative Gerald Anthony "Samsam" Gullas Jr, who had just secured his first-ever congressional seat in the May 2013 elections. His name, surprisingly, was mentioned in both the Lacson and De Lima lists.
Samsam Gullas questioned his inclusion because the Supreme Court had blocked the continued releases of PDAF with a TRO on September 10, 2013 – just two months after members of Congress assumed their posts in July 2013.
In the De Lima list, the name "Gullas" without a first name was handwritten below. It could have referred to either the younger Gullas or his grandfather Eduardo who was a member of Congress from 2004-2013.
(Editor's note: We earlier reported that Representative Gerald Gullas is the son of former representative Eduardo Gullas. We have since corrected the error.)
On Thursday, May 29, the Napoles camp admitted they made a mistake regarding the inclusion of the younger Gullas in the list. In a text message to reporters, Napoles’ counsel Bruce Rivera said that Napoles is actually referring to Eduardo Gullas.
The inclusion of handwritten names, particularly in the De Lima list (the May 12 Napoles affidavit), initially cast doubt on the list itself.
Including the dead
Some of the handwritten names that were added – below the computerized list – either duplicated those already identified in the computerized list (like Ricky Sandoval and Eduardo Zialcita) or were less specific without complete names (like 'Cong Angara-APO'). The latter apparently referred to Representative Bellaflor Angara of Aurora Province.
Also notable in both the De Lima and Lacson lists was the inclusion of surnames only, either handwritten or computerized. The presence of political families in Congress made it difficult to determine who exactly is being referred to.
About 9 of those who appeared on the list are already dead, including former Cavite 3rd district Representative Napoleon Beratio who died in 2002. His inclusion in the De Lima and Lacson lists makes it appear that the Napoles operations began even before 2002.
At least 49 representatives consistently appeared in all the 4 lists, including:
- former presidential son Mikey Arroyo (Pampanga) and his deceased uncle Iggy Arroyo (Negros Occidental)
- former Customs commissioner Ruffy Biazon (former Muntinlupa City representative)
- former representatives Samuel Dangwa (Benguet), Constantino Jaraula (Cagayan de Oro), Rizalina Seachon Lanete (Masbate), Arrel Olaño (Davao del Norte), Arthur Pingoy (South Cotabato), Rodolfo Plaza (Agusan del Sur), Edgar Valdez (APEC partylist), and Rodolfo Valencia (Oriental Mindoro) who were all pressed with a plunder complaint before the Ombudsman
Some of the lawmakers mentioned in the lists have already denied their alleged involvement. Understandably, no one would come forward and admit wrongdoing.
To be concluded – Rappler.com