Lawmakers face plunder charges
MANILA, Philippines - It’s plunder charges for Janet Napoles and her alleged network of conspirators for systematically diverting funds to fake non government organizations.
Among those charged are 3 senators and 5 congressmen.
Natashya Gutierrez reports.
A truckload of evidence, whistleblowers, and a case investigators call airtight.
About 2 months since details of the pork barrel scam was made public the National Bureau of Investigation finally files charges at the Ombudsman.
Lawmakers are accused of conniving with alleged syndicate head Janet Lim-Napoles, to siphon development funds commonly known as pork barrel.
LEILA DE LIMA
Eto pong first batch, base sa mga dokumento at base sa mga kwento ng whistleblowers, ito nga yung mga habitual na series of series of transactions na. Hindi lang isa, dalawa, tatlo. Paulit-ulit ginagamit yung mga Napoles NGOs. (This first batch, based on documents, these are the ones who had habitual series of transactions. Not just once, two or three times, it was over and over that they used the Napoles NGOs.)
38 face criminal charges.
But what makes it so explosive: it’s a rogue’s gallery of supposedly honorable men.
3 senators: Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla, are charged with plunder, along with two former members of the Lower House, Rizalina Seachon-Lanete and Edgar Valdez.
3 other lawmakers face charges of malversation, bribery and other graft and corrupt practices including former Congressmen Rodolfo Plaza, Samuel Dangwa and Constantino Jaraula.
LEILA DE LIMA
Why do we say plunder? When said lawmakers each accumulated more than P50 million which is the, as you know, threshold amount for plunder, through a series of transactions overtime through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, and malversation of the cash value of the project cost allocated from the lawmakers' PDAF. Doon naman po sa tatlo, bakit hindi plunder? At bakit recommendation lang po namin is malversation, direct bribery and other graft and corrupt practices? Dahil yung pinaka-basis po dito yung threshold na amount, rebates from Napoles was less than 50 million although their total pdaf allocations are more than 50 million. (For the three, why not plunder? And why does our recommendation only cover malversation, direct bribery and other graft and corrupt practices? Because the basis of this is the threshold amount. )
The list also includes 8 staff members of the lawmakers, 5 heads of agencies and 10 employees and 6 bogus NGO presidents.
The 38th person facing charges? Napoles herself.
LEILA DE LIMA
The 38th individual being recommended to be charged for plunder in the case as co-conspirator in the case of the 5 lawmakers being charged for plunder and also as a conspirator in the case of 3 other lawmakers being charged with malversation and corruption of public officials is Ms. Janet Lim-Napoles - the owner of the JLN group of companies and believed to be the mastermind of the PDAF scam operations.
But this is only the beginning.
The 38 names are only the first of 3 batches of cases the NBI plans to file.
LEILA DE LIMA
Next week we will file the Malampaya. The case regarding the Malampaya scam, and then hopefully the week after next, the 2nd batch of the PDAF scam complaints. Iyon po and plano po ng NBI. (That’s the plan of the NBI.)
The Ombudsman must now evaluate the evidence, a process that will take weeks given the mountain of documents.
De Lima says she will issue a lookout bulletin for the 38 respondents to monitor their movements.
All are free to leave the country until the case reaches the courts except Napoles who is in jail.
Historic. This is the word De Lima uses to describe the filing of the first batch of cases. Will this be enough for an angry public that marched in Luneta? Will big fish finally be put behind bars for stealing the people's money? Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler, Manila. - Rappler.com
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