PORK BARREL SENATE INQUIRY LOOKS LIKE 'TV SOAP OPERA'

Revilla unleased considerable vitriol against this whistleblower. He pointed out: "[P]aulit-ulit pong sinabi ni BENHUR LUY sa hearing ng Blue Ribbon Committee na siya ang pumeke ng pirma sa lahat ng mga dokumento...Sa makatuwid, eto palang si Benhur Luy ay si Boy Pirma." He also slammed the government of taking Luy's side, saying, "Ano po ang ginawa nila? Ora-orada nilang ginawang state witness itong mga Jukebox King and Queen, na si Boy pirma at kanyang mga alipores." With too many witnesses offering testimony for the government, the investigation into the pork barrel scheme is beginning to look like a television series, a congressman said on Friday.“Why do they need so many witnesses? It is becoming more than a television series already. People are so exasperated,” Isabela Rep. Albano said in a text message in day after witnesses Benhur Luy and Technology Resource Center (TRC) Chief Dennis Cunanan gave conflicting statements before the Senate blue ribbon committee. Cunanan said he signed documents when he was TRC deputy director authorizing Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations to non-government agencies linked to Janet Lim Napoles, the central figure in the pork barrel scandal. But he denied receiving kickbacks from Napoles. Luy, however, said Cunanan visited Napoles’ office to collect his payoff. Albano belittled Cunanan’s testimony and said he “is of no use [to the prosecution].” Another congressman, Ako Bicol’s Rodel Batocabe, said the discrepancy in the witnesses’ testimonies could be exploited as a “chink in the government’s prosecution armor.” “The prosecution should ensure that its witnesses will not contradict one another. Otherwise, people might be tempted to think that the controversy is farce,” Batocabe, a lawmaker allied with the Aquino administration, said in a text message. “The remedy here is for the government and private prosecutors to sit down and study how to harmonize the seemingly conflicting testimonies of Luy and Cunanan,” Batocabe said. But for Malacañang, the disagreement in the testimonies of Luy and Cunanan is “normal” and will not weaken the evidence against the implicated lawmakers and other government officials, and Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that only goes to show that the government or the Department of Justice has not been dictating on the witnesses...READ READERS' RESPONSES BELOW

ALSO: Palace: Pork scam suspects won’t win in 2016

Suspects in the P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund scam won’t win in the 2016 presidential race, said Presidential Communications Operations Office Sec. Herminio Coloma (photo) a day after Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago urged the public to spare the 2016 ballot from the lawmakers facing plunder charges over the pork barrel. Three of the 38 people who were leveled plunder and graft-related charges before the Office of the Ombudsman them are incumbent senators: Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. Their terms will expire in 2016. “It is clear that the people are outraged about the misuse of the PDAF, which is a public fund. We are hopeful that this outrage will show in how the people would elect their public servants and that they will vote for those who are honest,” Coloma told Radyo ng Bayan. “The Philippines is a democracy. It’s the people who have the power to choose their public servants. The people deserve the government that they want,” Coloma added. Coloma, however, said the Aquino administration is yet to train its sights on the 2016 polls despite a number of politicians being upfront with their political ambitions. Vice President Jejomar Binay has already bolted the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan party and will form a political party for his 2016 presidential bid. Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano of the Nacionalista Party has also thrown his hat in the 2016 derby.

ALSO: Miriam asks voters: Drop pork-tainted politicos in 2016

THIS early, Sen. Miriam Santiago (photo) has begun a blistering campaign for the 2016 national elections—not for voters to give her another mandate but to reject politicians who have been linked to the P10-billion “pork barrel” scam, including those who kept mum on the issue. Santiago, in an address at the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) in Batangas City appealed to students not to vote for senators and congressmen, facing graft and corruption charges and complaints at the office of the Ombudsman. The feisty senator also discouraged students from supporting lawmakers who are consistently silent on the pork barrel scam issues or those who are playing safe. Although every person enjoys a presumption of innocence, Santiago said, if the Ombudsman files a case against a politician for plunder in the Sandiganbayan, this means that she has in her possession enough evidence to allow the trial court to rule in favor of the government. According to Santiago, the 2016 presidential elections will be a test of leadership during these dark days when government is investigating the pork barrel scandal involving Janet Lim-Napoles, her dubious non-government organizations, and certain politicians. Voters should also not support politicians who purposely refrain from participating in the national debate on the pork barrel scandal.
Santiago tagged these politicos as cowards, for refusing to take a position for fear of incurring the anger of the guilty ones. “[Such a] candidate is an opportunist. He does not act out of conviction, but acts out of what is convenient for himself,” she said. READ READERS' RESPONSES BELOW


ALSO: Palace wants to see convictions in ‘pork’ scam by 2016

If the Palace would have its way, there would be convictions in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam cases involving lawmakers and other individuals before President Aquino ends his term in 2016. “And that’s the reason why we have been gathering evidence that we view as strong, that the courts will hopefully accept as basis for a conviction,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a press briefing yesterday. “Of course, we want to see a conviction. But we have a process, we have a justice system,” he said. Lacierda said the Office of the Ombudsman would be the one to file the cases before the Sandiganbayan based on the information submitted by the Department of Justice (DOJ). He pointed out that the ombudsman has to evaluate the evidence, and it is not automatic for them to file cases based solely on what the DOJ has submitted. Lacierda said he was not aware of the legal moves being done by those implicated in the plunder and other cases, such as Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. The three are claiming the charges are politically motivated because they all have stakes in the 2016 presidential and national elections.


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Pork barrel inquiry ‘looks like TV soap’


Revilla unleased considerable vitriol against this whistleblower. He pointed out: "[P]aulit-ulit pong sinabi ni BENHUR LUY sa hearing ng Blue Ribbon Committee na siya ang pumeke ng pirma sa lahat ng mga dokumento...Sa makatuwid, eto palang si Benhur Luy ay si Boy Pirma." He also slammed the government of taking Luy's side, saying, "Ano po ang ginawa nila? Ora-orada nilang ginawang state witness itong mga Jukebox King and Queen, na si Boy pirma at kanyang mga alipores."

MANILA, MARCH 10, 2014 (MANILA TIMES) by Llanesca Panti Reporter and Joel M. Sy Egco Senior Reporter - With too many witnesses offering testimony for the government, the investigation into the pork barrel scheme is beginning to look like a television series, a congressman said on Friday.

“Why do they need so many witnesses? It is becoming more than a television series already. People are so exasperated,” Isabela Rep. Albano said in a text message in day after witnesses Benhur Luy and Technology Resource Center (TRC) Chief Dennis Cunanan gave conflicting statements before the Senate blue ribbon committee.

Cunanan said he signed documents when he was TRC deputy director authorizing Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations to non-government agencies linked to Janet Lim Napoles, the central figure in the pork barrel scandal.

But he denied receiving kickbacks from Napoles. Luy, however, said Cunanan visited Napoles’ office to collect his payoff.
Albano belittled Cunanan’s testimony and said he “is of no use [to the prosecution].”

Another congressman, Ako Bicol’s Rodel Batocabe, said the discrepancy in the witnesses’ testimonies could be exploited as a “chink in the government’s prosecution armor.”

“The prosecution should ensure that its witnesses will not contradict one another. Otherwise, people might be tempted to think that the controversy is farce,” Batocabe, a lawmaker allied with the Aquino administration, said in a text message.

“The remedy here is for the government and private prosecutors to sit down and study how to harmonize the seemingly conflicting testimonies of Luy and Cunanan,” Batocabe said.

But for Malacañang, the disagreement in the testimonies of Luy and Cunanan is “normal” and will not weaken the evidence against the implicated lawmakers and other government officials, and Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that only goes to show that the government or the Department of Justice has not been dictating on the witnesses.

“Firstly, it is not really needed for the testimonies of the two to be completely in agreement with each other. It’s possible in any case that witness ‘A’ will be testifying on another aspect of the case while witness ‘B’ will be testifying on another completely different aspect of the same case,” Valte told a press briefing on Friday.

She said the evidence does not only pertain to a witness’ testimony before any investigating body. “But that being said, the final arbiter of the testimonies of the two will be the court that will hear the case filed by the Office of the Ombudsman,” Valte added.

She also said Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is unfazed by threats from some lawmakers to challenge or block her appointment. “We do not see any indication that the delay, at least, has affected her tenacity. So far, she continues to work with the [same] passion.”

If her appointment is challenged, especially by senators named as respondents in the pork barrel scam, Valte said, de Lima, who was once bypassed by the Commission on Appointments, is ready defend her position before the legislators.

2 Readers' Responses to Pork barrel inquiry ‘looks like TV soap’
rose says:
March 8, 2014 at 6:56 am
How can the Ombudsman terminate their investigation and file cases in the Sandiganbayan should the evidence warrants if they are still waiting infinitely for the DOJ’s supposed “appearing and disappearing weasel blowers”?
The purpose of the senate sarsuela is glaring for an ordinary citizen not to comprehend and that is:
The administration do not intend to file formal charges against the accused senators simply because everybody who partook of PDAF and DAP funds including of course, The Lord of the Pork CNoy are guilty. It is enough that the senate sarsuela will go on and the longer the better so that those opposition senators are demonized until the 2016 elections. And, that’s the bottom line.

Reply
Robert says:
March 8, 2014 at 4:39 am
Why is the senate investigation taking so long. Why not send the case to the court and start filing charges to those officials involve. Anyway, it is the court who will decide if they’re guilty and not the senate. I think they’re just wasting their time people are getting fed up of too much investigation and besides there are still some cases that are pending in the court that till now had not been decided yet like Ampatuan Case and what happen to Coronas Case?
Baka puro imbestiga na lang tayo sa bandang huli wala ring mapaparusahan. Kapag inabot ng eleksion yang mga kasong nabanggit ay tabla tabla na lang tayo. I hope not.

Palace: Pork scam suspects won’t win in 2016 March 8, 2014 8:17 pm

MANILA -Suspects in the P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund scam won’t win in the 2016 presidential race, said Presidential Communications Operations Office Sec. Herminio Coloma (photo) a day after Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago urged the public to spare the 2016 ballot from the lawmakers facing plunder charges over the pork barrel.

Three of the 38 people who were leveled plunder and graft-related charges before the Office of the Ombudsman them are incumbent senators: Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. Their terms will expire in 2016.

“It is clear that the people are outraged about the misuse of the PDAF, which is a public fund. We are hopeful that this outrage will show in how the people would elect their public servants and that they will vote for those who are honest,” Coloma told Radyo ng Bayan.

“The Philippines is a democracy. It’s the people who have the power to choose their public servants. The people deserve the government that they want,” Coloma added.

Coloma, however, said the Aquino administration is yet to train its sights on the 2016 polls despite a number of politicians being upfront with their political ambitions.

Vice President Jejomar Binay has already bolted the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan party and will form a political party for his 2016 presidential bid.

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano of the Nacionalista Party has also thrown his hat in the 2016 derby.

Department of Interior and Local Government Sec. Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd, on the other hand, is the presumed standard bearer of the ruling Liberal Party since he had given way to then Sen. Benigno Aquino 3rd in the 2010 presidential race.

“The Aquino administration is not losing its focus on the task at hand, which is to institute reforms in accordance with our Philippine Development Plan,” Coloma stressed.

“Anybody is free to talk about 2016 but we won’t lose our focus amid these 2016 talks,” Coloma added. LLANESCA T. PANTI

MIRIAM ASKS VOTERS: DROP ‘PORK’-TAINTED POLITICOS IN 2016 March 7, 2014 10:30 pm by Jefferson Antiporda Reporter

MANILA -THIS early, Sen. Miriam Santiago (photo) has begun a blistering campaign for the 2016 national elections—not for voters to give her another mandate but to reject politicians who have been linked to the P10-billion “pork barrel” scam, including those who kept mum on the issue.

Santiago, in an address at the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) in Batangas City appealed to students not to vote for senators and congressmen, facing graft and corruption charges and complaints at the office of the Ombudsman.

The feisty senator also discouraged students from supporting lawmakers who are consistently silent on the pork barrel scam issues or those who are playing safe.

Although every person enjoys a presumption of innocence, Santiago said, if the Ombudsman files a case against a politician for plunder in the Sandiganbayan, this means that she has in her possession enough evidence to allow the trial court to rule in favor of the government.

According to Santiago, the 2016 presidential elections will be a test of leadership during these dark days when government is investigating the pork barrel scandal involving Janet Lim-Napoles, her dubious non-government organizations, and certain politicians.

Voters should also not support politicians who purposely refrain from participating in the national debate on the pork barrel scandal.

Santiago tagged these politicos as cowards, for refusing to take a position for fear of incurring the anger of the guilty ones.

“[Such a] candidate is an opportunist. He does not act out of conviction, but acts out of what is convenient for himself,” she said.

She insisted that a politician who wants to become a wise guy by being friends with everybody—corrupt or not—is not a leader and this should guide voters in selecting their leaders in 2016.

Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr., are among the scores of respondents in the plunder and malversation complaint filed by the National Bureau of Investigation at the office of the Ombudsman last year.

Revilla was recently named by his party Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats as its standard bearer in 2016, while Estrada was reportedly targeting the vice presidential post.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, one of the leaders of the opposition already declared his plan to run as president. He is not implicated in the scam but the vice president is being criticized for not issuing strong statements against the controversy wherein some of his allies are suspected to have taken part in.

Senate majority leader Alan Peter Cayetano, has been raising his concern over Binay’s position against corruption because of his refusal to make strong statements on the PDAF issue.

5 Responses to MIRIAM ASKS VOTERS: DROP ‘PORK’-TAINTED POLITICOS IN 2016
romeo says:
March 8, 2014 at 3:07 pm
c sen allan caytano what is his criteria he was the asst. b4 ni sen m villar run for pres. cnbhan ci pnoy my kuliling daw ngayn tagapagtanggol na cya ni pres p. own politics nga nman ang mga ganitong tao dapat di na ibinoboto yan kakahiya ano ng manyayari sa ph

Reply
RIENZI G REMITIO says:
March 8, 2014 at 10:42 am
IS SENATOR SANTIAGO CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS OF VOTER CYNICISM OR APATHY? LOOK AT OUR PRESENT ELECTED OFFICIALS. MANY HAVE TAINTED RECORDS YET MANAGE TO GET INTO HIGH OFFICE. MAYBE WE DESERVE WHAT WE GET. MY HOPE FOR A DECENT PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT FADES.

Reply
apo3kr says:
March 8, 2014 at 7:11 am
MADAM MIRRIAM, SA AKIN LANG, DI MO KAILANGANG SABIHAN ANG MGA BOTANTE PAGKA’T SAWANG-SAWA NA ANG MGA TAO SA MGA SENATONGS AT TONGRESSMEN LALO NA YUON NASANGKOT SA NAPOLES PDAF SCAM. HINDI KO ALAM KUNG ANO PA ANG MAGAGAWA NG DALAWANG PEKENG SURVEY FIRMS, ” FALSE ASIA AT SURVEY WALANG SILBI” PARA ITAAS PA ANG MGA ITO. KAYA AKO NUON NAKARAAN ELECTION, KAHIT NA SINABIHAN AKO NG MGA KAIBIGAN KO KUNG BAKIT KO SI TED CASINO LAMANG ANG BINOTO KO NA LEFTIST DAW, AY SINAGOT KO ” I WILL RATHER VOTE ONE HONEST LEFTIST THAN VOTE 24 DISHONEST DEMOCRATS AND LIBERALS ” AT LALO NG HINDI KO IBOBOTO ANG MGA MIEMBRO NG FAMILY DYNASTIES. HINDI AKO LEFTIST PERO SAWA NA AKO SA MGA GAWA NG ATIN MGA POLITKO. DI BA SEN. SANTIAGO?

Reply
Farmer Boy says:
March 8, 2014 at 7:05 am
I agree 100% with Sen. Miriam S. The voters, most specially the so called “netizens” (supposedly, educated intelligent voters), students, people with good moral values, let us show ourselves, our children, children to be, grandchildren and grandchildren to be, that we really care for them. Let us all agree with Sen. M. Santiago in this particular issue. Let us again show the whole world of a different type of “People Power”, “People Revolution” against Graft and Corruption, against Political Dynasty, against Opportunists’!!! Some may not like Sen. Miriam, but let us be mature and honest to ourselves that there are times Sen. Miriam, is also likeable and the only Senator who can really courageous enough to say what is right and wrong in the face of the person she is talking too. Go, go, go, Sen. Miriam, I am not 100% fan of yours, but when I see that what you are saying is right, I accept it. I hope and pray that you get well soon.

Reply
mikhail hieronymus says:
March 8, 2014 at 12:40 am
RIGHT ON…..Senator Mariam Santiago. I hope the people will follow your advice. If the people are stupid enough and vote for the same corrupt candidates the Philippines will be nothing but the NUMBGER ONE corrupt government on earth. The nation and the whole population will suffer for decades to come. God Bless the Philippines!!!!!!!@

FROM PHILSTAR

Palace wants to see convictions in ‘pork’ scam by 2016 By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 4, 2014 - 12:00am 0 7 googleplus0 2


President Aquino

MANILA, Philippines - If the Palace would have its way, there would be convictions in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam cases involving lawmakers and other individuals before President Aquino ends his term in 2016.

“And that’s the reason why we have been gathering evidence that we view as strong, that the courts will hopefully accept as basis for a conviction,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a press briefing yesterday.

“Of course, we want to see a conviction. But we have a process, we have a justice system,” he said.

Lacierda said the Office of the Ombudsman would be the one to file the cases before the Sandiganbayan based on the information submitted by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

He pointed out that the ombudsman has to evaluate the evidence, and it is not automatic for them to file cases based solely on what the DOJ has submitted.

Lacierda said he was not aware of the legal moves being done by those implicated in the plunder and other cases, such as Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr.

The three are claiming the charges are politically motivated because they all have stakes in the 2016 presidential and national elections.

As early as 2010 when he was still campaigning to be president, Aquino had cited statistics showing it would take at least six years to prosecute a case.

“It takes time for the DOJ to do its job, to come up with a strong case. But, again, it does not end with the DOJ. It goes to the prosecution, the justice system. The next step is with the ombudsman. But with the ombudsman, we are out of it because it’s a separate entity,” Lacierda said.

“We hope that it would be faster but, again, this is the process of our justice system. Part of the reform process that is being done right now is a measure that Senate President (Franklin) Drilon has brought up before the Senate; that is to increase the number of courts in the Sandiganbayan,” he said.

Lacierda cited the need to improve the justice system to expedite the prosecution not just of PDAF but all cases involving government officials.

He said the public must also be vigilant in following the cases because these involve public funds.

Lifestyle check

Outgoing Technology Resource Center (TRC) director general Dennis Cunanan yesterday challenged three senators who were implicated in the pork barrel scam to also submit themselves to a lifestyle check.

Cunanan, the latest state witness of the DOJ in the PDAF cases, urged Enrile, Estrada and Revilla to open their bank accounts and assets for scrutiny.

“If you are innocent as you publicly claim you are and you have nothing to hide, please submit yourselves to the same lifestyle check and execute waivers of the benefits of the bank secrecy law so the public may know once and for all who is telling the truth,” he said in a statement sent to DOJ reporters via e-mail.

Cunanan earlier vowed to submit himself to a lifestyle check as proposed by Sen. Grace Poe, insisting that he did not pocket kickbacks from the PDAF scam allegedly masterminded by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles who had set up bogus non-government organizations that were named as beneficiaries of the PDAF of the three senators.

Plunder charges were filed before the Office of Ombudsman against Enrile, Estrada, Revilla, several congressmen and other government officials in connection with the misuse of the pork barrel of lawmakers.

Lacierda said it is up to the DOJ to prove that Cunanan is a credible witness.

“The evaluation of Cunanan as a witness is being done by the DOJ, and as Justice Secretary Leila de Lima already said, Mr. Cunanan is prepared to face any questions on his role as TRC director, including the latest revelations that came out,” he said.

Navotas City Rep. Tobias Tiangco, spokesman of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance, said Cunanan would not be a credible witness after having lied his way through three administrations to secure government posts.

He said Cunanan was removed from a post in the Commission on Higher Education during the Arroyo administration after it was found out that he was an undergraduate.

“Apparently, he was able to talk his way into the Aquino administration as he remained in the TRC,” he said.

For the first time yesterday, Cunanan broke his silence after an ABS-CBN news report accused him of owning a P40-million house in an exclusive subdivision in Quezon City and several luxury vehicles.

Cunanan vehemently denied the allegations, which he believed was “maliciously crafted by taking unverified claims and intercalating them with true facts to give them the semblance of truth and ending with insinuations of wrong-doing.”

“It is obviously part of a well financed demolition job aimed at destroying my credibility as a possible witness for the state against the powerful masterminds of the PDAF scam. I actually expected this already,” he lamented.

Cunanan, who is on-leave and reportedly preparing to file his resignation, admitted that he and his family have been living in the said house but clarified that his brother Darius, who is a businessman, owns the place.

He also stressed that contrary to the report, the property is not worth P40 million, but was purchased seven years ago at around P12 million through a bank loan.

“At the time my brother bought the house, I was renting a condominium unit with my family somewhere near Mindanao Avenue, Quezon City. My brother, who lives and works in Pampanga, offered to lease the house to me. I initially refused but my brother ultimately prevailed upon me to lease it from him at a concessional rate,” he claimed.

Cunanan said he has authorized his lawyer Odessa Bernardo to release to the media the deed of sale of the property, documents pertaining to the loan and statement of account of his brother as proof.

He also denied owning luxury cars, saying he only has three vehicles: a 10-year-old van acquired through bank financing and two delivery trucks used in his family’s water refilling business.

Cunanan was likewise puzzled why the green Nissan X-trail owned by the TRC was also cited in the report.

He lamented why the TV report would claim that he did not declare these properties in his Statement of Assets Liabilities and Networth (SALN): “Why will I report properties that do not belong to me in my SALN?”

Cunanan revealed that the erroneous report, which mentioned the name of the subdivision and street where their house is, has jeopardized the safety and security of his family.

“My family started noticing numerous suspicious vehicles lurking around the street where we stay. My family and household also started receiving threatening phone calls and text messages saying that they knew where we live and what time my children commute to and from their school and inquiring about my whereabouts,” he bared.

For her part, De Lima said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) would double the security men assigned to Cunanan and his family.

“We’re still verifying those reports… but of course we cannot afford to play it down, we cannot afford to ignore those threats,” she said. – With Edu Punay, Delon Porcalla, Paolo Romero


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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