FACT-CHECK: Agents, implementing agencies, and the ‘Napolists’

Reynaldo Santos Jr and Michael Bueza
FACT-CHECK: Agents, implementing agencies, and the ‘Napolists’
(UPDATED) One name is surprisingly missing in the so-called Napoles lists: Jose Antonio Evangelista, the deputy chief of staff for political affairs of Enrile. Gigi Reyes, Enrile's former chief of staff, was mentioned only in Napoles' latest affidavit but never in the other lists.

Last of 3 parts

Part 1: FACT-CHECK: Making sense of the Napoles lists
Part 2: FACT-CHECK: House of Representatives and the ‘Napolists’

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The 4 so-called “Napolists,” which implicated a number of lawmakers and other personalities in the pork barrel scam, excluded some agents and government employees who were initially investigated by the Department of Justice (DOJ). 

The DOJ forwarded the names of 38 agents and implementing agency employees to the Office of the Ombudsman based on evidence linking them to the Philippines’ biggest corruption scandal in recent history. On April 1, 2014, the Ombudsman initially filed plunder charges against 3 of them.

The release of lawmakers’ funds from their pork barrel was facilitated by agency officials. Money was supposedly split between Janet Napoles and the lawmakers, without any projects being implemented. The lawmakers’ aides, representatives, and the agency officials allegedly got fat commissions in exchange. Whistleblower Merlina Suñas said in her affidavit that 50% went to lawmakers, 35% to Napoles, 10% to the implementing agency, and 5% to their chiefs of staff.

But more than half of the agents and employees charged by the DOJ before the Ombudsman were not found in any of the so-called Napoles lists, which include the incomplete list of Rehabilitation Secretary Panfilo Lacson, the list of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, the data published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI), and the list which was part of the new affidavit submitted by the Napoles camp on Monday, May 26.

The table below shows that 26 out of the 38 individuals named in the DOJ complaints before the Ombudsman were not mentioned in any of the lists.

NOTE: Under the ‘Ombudsman’ column, a ✓ indicates the person is included in the complaint submitted by the Department of Justice to the Ombudsman, while an * indicates the person is among those charged by the Ombudsman.

Enrile link

One name is surprisingly missing in the so-called Napoles lists: Jose Antonio Evangelista, the deputy chief of staff for political affairs of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile. 

Evangelista was identified in a Senate hearing to have signed letters on the senator’s behalf, to endorse Napoles-linked NGOs. Enrile’s staff said Evangelista still reports for work.

Evangelista wasn’t included in the plunder complaint submitted by the DOJ to the Ombudsman. But the Ombudsman found him to have violated Section 3(E) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

On the other hand, Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, Enrile’s former chief of staff, was mentioned only in Napoles’ latest affidavit but never in the other lists.

Reyes was reported to have signed endorsement letters — as Enrile’s authorized representative — for Napoles-linked NGOs. She irrevocably resigned in January 2013, following a controversy that involved Christmas “cash gifts” given by Enrile to some of his allies in the Senate. In her Facebook post after her resignation, she wrote about how she felt betrayed, in apparent reference to Enrile. Both were reported to be in a relationship, which Enrile has denied, but which his wife confirmed.

Reyes was among the 3 agents that the Ombudsman charged with plunder before the Sandiganbayan.

The non-inclusion of Evangelista in all the publicized lists, and of Reyes in at least 3 of them, raises questions considering their links to Enrile, who faces a plunder complaint before the Ombudsman.

Nicknames, reps as agents 

Another point of interest is that some former lawmakers were also identified as “agents” – those who acted as middlemen between lawmakers and the group of Napoles – in some of the Napolists.

In some instances, these former House representatives were labeled as both “congressman” and “agent.” 

Also, labels for these solons are not consistent in all the lists:

  • Nasser Pangandaman – identified as congressman in the Lacson and De Lima lists; as agent in the Inquirer list; as congressman and agent in the Napoles affidavit
  • Mikey Arroyo – identified as congressman in the Lacson and De Lima lists; as congressman and agent in the Inquirer list; and as congressman in the Napoles affidavit
  • Maite Defensor – identified as congressman in the Lacson and De Lima lists; as agent in the Inquirer list; as agent in the Napoles affidavit
  • Zenaida Ducut – identified as congresswoman and agent in the Inquirer list; as congresswoman and agent in the Napoles affidavit
  • Clavel Martinez – identified as congresswoman in the Lacson, De Lima and Inquirer lists; as congresswoman and agent in the Napoles affidavit
  • Rafael Nantes – identified as congressman in the Lacson, De Lima and Inquirer lists; as congressman and agent in the Napoles affidavit
  • Jurdin Jesus Romualdo – identified as congressman in the Lacson, De Lima and Inquirer lists; as congressman and agent in the Napoles affidavit
  • Leovigildo Banaag – identified as congressman and agent in the Napoles affidavit

Single-name references were also included in the Inquirer list and the new Napoles affidavit. These names were associated with 4 senators:

  • “Atty. Danny” – staff of Senator Gringo Honasan
  • “Atty. Laloy” – associated with former senator Robert Barbers
  • “Bernard” – staff of former senator Rodolfo Biazon
  • “Boy and Ampi” – associated with former senator Robert Barbers
  • “Canda” – associated with former senator Robert Barbers
  • “Tito Boy” – uncle of Senator Alan Cayetano

Common to all lists 

There are 18 names who consistently appear in all 4 lists. They include:

  • Congressional staff Pauline Labayen and Ruby Tuason (her name is misspelled as “Tuazon”)
  • Agents Matt (or Mat) Ranillo III and Maya Santos
  • Antonio Ortiz and Dennis Cunanan (from the Technology Resource Center)
  • Narciso Nieto and Teresita Panlilio (from the Department of Agrarian Reform)

In the sworn affidavits of the whistleblowers dated September 11, 2013, Labayen was identified as having received commissions for Senator Jinggoy Estrada, while Tuason supposedly received rebates for Enrile.

Tuason was granted on May 2 prosecutorial immunity in the PDAF scam after she turned witness and returned the P40 million (around US$898,574*) she allegedly collected from the pork barrel transactions.

Ranillo, a former movie actor, was identified by the witnesses as one of the conduits of Estrada. Luy revealed that Ranillo introduced Labayen to Napoles, and that he delivered money to Labayen’s house in Dasmariñas Village, Makati.

Santos, a former project coordinator of Senators Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr and Loren Legarda, was identified by Tuason as one of the “middlemen” in the PDAF scam. 

Ortiz was former TRC director general and boss of Dennis Cunanan. Cunanan, whose name was also dragged into the issue, is now one of the witnesses in the case.

Nieto, then Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Undersecretary for Finance, and Panlilio, then the Director III of DAR’s Finance Management, reportedly operated on plundering the P900-million Malampaya Fund.

The total number of agents and employees of implementing agencies referred to the Ombudsman outnumber those identified in the Lacson and De Lima lists. 

The Lacson list mentioned only 21 individuals, while the De Lima list mentioned 22.

The Inquirer list mentioned 57 agents and employees of implementing agencies. The newspaper reported on Saturday, May 24, that Luy confirmed the newspaper’s list, derived from the data in the hard drive given by Luy’s family to the broadsheet on April 27, 2013.

Earlier, Napoles’ lawyer questioned the timing of release and the veracity of Luy’s list, while the Senate summoned him to submit a copy of his digital files.

Luy’s files have now been made public by the Senate blue ribbon committee. – Rappler.com

*US$1 = P44.52

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