MANILA, SEPTEMBER 23, 2013 (PHILSTAR) By Evelyn Macairan - An immigration lookout bulletin order (ILBO) was issued yesterday to monitor the departures of at least 35 respondents in the plunder charge in connection with the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

Sens. Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. were excluded from the ILBO signed by BI officer-in-charge Siegfred Mison at 5:30 p.m.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the three senators were not included in the ILBO “as a matter of courtesy to a co-equal branch of government.”

BI spokesperson Ma. Angelica Pedro said the three senators also “made pronouncements that they would not leave the country because they owe it to the Filipino people who have voted for them to be in their offices.”

When asked if special treatment is being accorded the three senators, Pedro said the ILBO is only meant to alert concerned law enforcement agencies that a person in the list is leaving the country.

An ILBO is not a reason to prevent the departure of a person, she said.

“We do not know what they (35 respondents) look like, we are just banking on their names and that is the only way we could identify them as opposed to the three senators who are known to all,” she added.

Airports on alert

Airports all over the country have been put on alert for the possible departure of the 35 respondents, De Lima said.

She lamented that the Department of Justice (DOJ) could not prevent suspects from leaving the country because the issuance of a watchlist order or hold departure order is suspended in view of an outstanding temporary restraining order.

The DOJ chief said the government could only prevent the flight of the 38 respondents when the ombudsman finishes its preliminary investigation, file the cases with the Sandiganbayan and orders their arrest.

De Lima earlier said the government would also move for the freezing of the assets of the three senators and their co-accused.

Included in the plunder charge sheet were former representative and now Masbate Gov. Rizalina Seachon-Lanete, former Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC) party-list representative Edgar Valdez, former Benguet congressman Samuel Dangwa, former Agusan del Sur congressman Rodolfo Plaza, and former Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Constantino Jaraula, who were charged with malversation of public funds.

Enrile’s chief-of-staff Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, Revilla’s employee Richard Cambe, Enrile’s and Estrada’s representative Ruby Tuason, Estrada’s staff Pauline Labayen, Lanete’s employee Jose Sumalpong, Lanete’s district staff Jeanette de la Cruz, Dangwa’s chief of staff Erwin Dangwa, and employee Carlos Lozada were also charged with plunder.

Also facing the same charges were six presidents of non-government organizations linked with businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, identified as Jocelyn Piorato of APMFI, Nemesio Pablo of AEPFFI, Mylene Encarnacion of CARED, John Raymund de Asis of KPMFI, Evelyn de Leon of PSDFI, and Ronald John Lim of GAMFI.

Ten officials and employees of the National Agribusiness Corp., the National Livelihood Development Corp., and the Technology Resource Center have also been charged.– With Edu Punay

JPE’s daughter defends dad on ‘pork’ scam By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 23, 2013 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Katrina Ponce-Enrile has defended her father, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, over accusations that he misused his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) from 2007 to 2009.

Katrina appealed to critics and even social media bashers to give her 89-year-old father his day in court.

In her Facebook post last Sept. 13, Katrina said: “I cannot and will not stop all of you from saying the meanest things about my family but one thing we all have to do is wait for legal process to unfold and unravel and for those that have judged us already, I am not here to change your minds.”

She appealed for privacy amid the attacks.

“Why don’t we just wait to get this all to the courtroom and allow the evidence to speak for itself?” she said.

Katrina added that her father is slowly recovering after he was confined last week for high blood pressure caused by difficulty in urinating.

An obstruction was removed from the senator’s urethra, a representative of the senator said last week.

Katrina said she has been trying to be quiet after the controversy broke out some two weeks ago.

“I’ve been very patient these past few weeks trying my best to be understanding of the sentiments of the people and just biting my tongue every time I have the urge to respond to the vicious attacks my family has been receiving,” she said.

She maintained that everyone is deemed innocent until proven guilty.

Katrina also appealed to the public to “wait for the wheels of justice to turn.”

“And until then, may I suggest you turn your anger and redirect it to more productive use of your precious time,” she said.

As this developed, Senate Deputy Minority Leader Vicente Sotto III said Sen. Jinggoy Estrada is preparing to deliver a privilege speech this week to rebut the plunder complaint.

Sotto pointed out why some of his colleagues in the opposition were singled out in the pork barrel controversy specifying only seven of the 82 non-government organizations (NGOs) were highlighted in the media exposes.

He believes that Enrile welcomes the filing of the plunder complaint so that he will be given a chance to explain his side and clear his name.

Meanwhile, director general Dennis Cunanan of the Technology Resource Center (TRC) arrived Friday night in Manila from the United States to prove that he is not evading the case over his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.

“I made true to my promise to return back home and face the investigation about my possible involvement in the pork barrel scam,” said Cunanan, one of 38 respondents in the plunder case filed by the Department of Justice before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Cunanan said that he left the country on Sept. 13 for the US to attend a previously scheduled meeting of the Junior Chamber International (JCI), where he is incoming secretary-general.

The meeting is scheduled for more than a week, but he cut short his trip to allay concerns that he is hiding. He arrived Friday night on board Delta flight number 173.

“I would also like to state for the record that I had nothing to do with the Priority Development Assistance Fund-related projects processed of the Technology Resource Center in 2007 to 2009, which are now the subject of the PDAF scam case filed against Mrs. Janet Lim-Napoles along with 37 other public officials and private individuals.”

“The records will show that when I was appointed as TRC director general in January 2010, I immediately directed all non-government organizations and people’s organizations which have pending accounts and deficiencies with the TRC to liquidate their accounts and settle their deficiencies.

“After affording them reasonable opportunity to do so, I issued a memorandum on July 16, 2010 blacklisting no less than 44 NGOs and POs and banning them from doing business with TRC, including the eight NGOs that are identified with Mrs. Napoles,” he said, adding the COA special audit team had expressed appreciation for this action of the TRC management.


2016: Political fallout from pork BABE’S EYE VIEW By Babe Romualdez (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 8, 2013 - 12:00am 11 358 googleplus0 4

The pork barrel scam allegedly hatched by Janet Lim Napoles continues to stoke the outrage of many Filipinos, as the tangled web of complicity is being slowly unraveled by Senator Guigona’s Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. Political observers are watching out for the political fallout from this issue and how the widening scandal will impact the 2016 presidential elections. More likely than not, those aspiring for the top positions will be the most affected.

A Mar Roxas supporter told us he is “getting worried” about the adverse reactions that have been spreading over cyberspace regarding Mar’s handling of the Napoles issue. The “Ma’am Janet” slip in particular has generated a lot of sarcastic and angry comments, with people taking the seeming deference as proof that indeed, the connections of the alleged brains of the pork barrel scam is widespread.

There are some however who say the “slip” was simply a result of the fact that Mar was “to the manner born” — meaning that coming from a “de buena familia,” it has been ingrained in him to be courteous and respectful. But as pointed out by a columnist, the “Ma’am Janet” Freudian slip is probably a consequence of his lack of understanding of the “kalye” or street mentality where the deferential “Ma’am” can connote a certain degree of familiarity.

It’s not helping either that Malacañang seems to be getting into the habit of defending President Noy’s 2010 running mate whenever he gets a lot of flak from critics or detractors. And then there’s the Serendra blast. It probably seemed a good idea at the time for Mar to appear as a hands-on official, being very visible and voluble to the media during the initial stages of the investigation. But it looks like this tactic is starting to backfire mainly because Mar kept promising to release the report from foreign experts “if not this week, early next week,” “in two weeks,” “at the end of the month.” Well, it seems it never came. Many of the Serendra residents are frustrated and angry.

This early, many are anticipating a significant shift in the political landscape judging from the snowballing anti-pork sentiment among Netizens, with the August 26 “Million March to Luneta” generating another call for a protest march on September 11 — albeit with a different set of “organizers” this time. It’s apparent however that the anti-pork protest movement is driven by middle class rage — or at least that’s how a lot of people perceive it considering that the billions wasted over ghost projects and fake NGOs came from taxes — money contributed by working class people to government coffers.

Even Filipinos abroad are weighing in on the issue, with people like Loida Nicolas Lewis brandishing placards stating, “Vote the rascals out in 2016!” Well, it remains to be seen whether the middle class outrage will translate into votes or no votes for the “rascals.”

Despite Senate President Frank Drilon’s appeal for people not to pass judgment on senators, the widespread perception is that “pare-pareho lang sila” — meaning everyone is tarred with the same brush. Considering the magnitude and extent of the scandal as initial results of the Senate probe indicate, it would seem that the fallout could also affect members of the ruling Liberal Party.

But — going by what happened after Edsa Dos —despite Joseph Estrada’s incarceration over plunder charges, his wife and son were both elected to the Senate. Erap Estrada even came out number two in the 2010 presidential elections mainly because of the so-called loyal masa. If surveys were to be held today, and Senators Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada (who both did very well in their senatorial runs) remain popular, then it’s not farfetched to conclude that the masa factor could once again come into play considering that the D-E classes seem to be “scam proof” — meaning they are not as affected or as disgusted like the middle class regarding the implications of the pork barrel scam. As pointed out by Cardinal Tagle, the economic boom (paradoxically the pork fund scam) only benefits the top, hardly affecting the poorest of the poor.

When the dust settles, we can conclude that the one who will likely be the greatest beneficiary of this whole pork mess is Vice President Jejomar Binay, considered the frontrunner in the 2016 presidential derby. Even with the revelations that his office also receives a slice of the pork, there is no indication that his PDAF allocation was siphoned to fake NGOs. The fact is, Jojo Binay has a very solid following from the lower classes that identify with his ordinary attributes. It doesn’t hurt either that the Vice President happens to be the chairman of HUDCC — a critical agency that caters to the basic housing needs of underprivileged Filipinos. As presidential adviser for OFW concerns, Binay is extremely popular with the OFW families.

And let’s not forget, Binay’s own family is in a great position to advance his presidential aspirations. Senator Nancy Binay’s questions in last Thursday’s Senate hearing impressed many as being right on the spot — obviously helping her father. There are also no indications that Makati Congresswoman Abby Binay is tainted by the pork scandal. In fact, even the latest developments concerning the territorial dispute over Bonifacio Global City between Taguig and Makati is giving the VP an uplift, with Makati mayor Junjun Binay getting the approval of many especially when he indicated his willingness to share revenues with Taguig.

The presidency is truly a matter of destiny – and once again the confluence of recent events seems to indicate that Jejomar Binay is destined to be the next president.

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Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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