Napoles, ex-officials to be arraigned over Malampaya scam

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Napoles, ex-officials to be arraigned over Malampaya scam
The Sandiganbayan junks with finality all motions which sought to block the criminal charges

MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan dismissed with finality all motions filed by personalities allegedly involved in the P900-million Malampaya fund scam, citing lack of merit.

In a resolution dated January 8, the anti-graft court’s 3rd Division set for Friday, January 18, the arraignment of individuals accused of graft and malversation of public funds.

Those facing criminal charges include businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles and her children James Christopher and Jo Christine, and also ex-government officials including former budget secretary and now Camarines Sur 1st District Representative Rolando Andaya Jr, former agrarian reform secretary Nasser Pangandaman, former agrarian reform undersecretary Narciso Nieto, former agrarian reform director Teresita Panlilio, and former agrarian chief accountant Angelita Cacananta.  

The case, according to prosecutors, stemmed from the misuse of P900 million sourced from the Malampaya fund for operations in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Ondoy (Ketsana) and Typhoon Pepeng (Parma) in 2009.

Then-president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo authorized Andaya to release the funding to the Department of Agrarian Reform as implementing agency through Executive Order No. 848.

The money, however, went to at least 13 non-governmental organizations ran by Napoles, similar to the pork barrel scam, instead of going directly to communities affected by the disasters. 

The Sandiganbayan said all information sufficiently explained the legal basis and the nature of the criminal charges filed against all the defendants.

“[A] plain reading of the present Informations will show that the acts and/or omissions complained of are alleged in plain, ordinary, and concise language,” the anti-graft court said. 

“In fact, the specific participation of all the accused in the alleged Malampaya fund scam are outlined in detail in each of the Informations in these cases,” it added.

The Office of the Ombudsman filed the graft and malversation cases in December 2017–

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