LACSON WARNS DE LIMA ANEW NOT TO PURGE LIST

AT least 16 senators benefitted from the pork barrel scam, rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson said Wednesday. “I said before that the list of names is enough to constitute a quorum, but actually, it is enough to ratify a treaty,” Lacson said, referring to a list that he said was given him by the husband of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles. Lacson also renewed his warning to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima not to sanitize the so-called Napoles list or he would be forced to disclose the copy that he holds. “If the list becomes obviously sanitized, then it is my obligation to disclose it. This is a corruption issue, and it is our obligation to call the attention of authorities,” he said. Earlier, Lacson said based on the so-called Napoles list, a senator who has yet to be implicated in the pork barrel scam received more kickbacks than opposition Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. The unsigned affidavit came with a USB stick containing a recording of a “revealing” telephone conversation that Lacson refused to detail. Lacson said Napoles also named officials and employees of the Budget Department who were involved in the scheme through lawmakers funneled their development funds to bogus projects in exchange for kickbacks. Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma threw his support behind De Lima’s appeal to be given time to vet the Napoles list. “It will be irresponsible if the names are made public without being vetted. That is the essence of the appeal of Secretary de Lima, for her to be given time to vet the list,” Coloma said. READ MORE...

‘PNoy knows my stalker’ - Whistleblower

WHISTLEBLOWER Sandra Cam on Friday directly linked President Benigno Aquino III to a government official who was allegedly assigned to stalk her, claiming the latter had worked as a legal officer for Aquino 27 years ago. Cam said President Aquino was the boss of Alex Almario long before he became assistant secretary for Agrarian Reform. Almario, whom Cam accused of trying to pressure her into keeping silent about the pork barrel scam, was a former provincial board member and district chairman of Aquino’s Liberal Party in Masbate. On June 10, 2010, a month after the presidential polls, Almario wrote a letter to the editor in a national broadsheet glorifying “Sir Noy” and his straight path, and attacking his predecessor, Cam said. “Who is Malacanang kidding? Almario, a lawyer, was an LP official who is close to Senate President (Franklin) Drilon and even closer to President Aquino for having worked and lawyered for him many years ago. President Aquino was his boss and they all are still together up to now,” Cam said, reacting to the Palace’s denial that the government was stalking her after Almario’s visit to her April 30. In a statement, Almario said he was stuck in traffic returning from Tagaytay and decided to make a social call to Cam, who was not around at the time of his visit. Almario claimed he and Cam were friends, with both of them coming from Masbate, but Cam said they were never friends. “President Aquino, Drilon and Almario were not only party mates. They worked together and campaigned together after all these years,” Cam said. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: Napoles list explosive; Senate may ‘collapse’ – Lacson

Former Senator Panfilo Lacson on Sunday warned that the 24-member upper chamber might “collapse” under the weight of Janet Lim Napoles’ revelations in her affidavit if the document would be made public. Nevertheless, he said he was willing to submit to the Senate the three sets of documents earlier given to him by Napoles’ family: a draft affidavit, narration of events, and a list of legislators and other government officials allegedly involved in the pork barrel scam. “In my view, [the matter] involves national security because the Senate might collapse [‘magiba’] if [the documents] are released to the public,” he said in Filipino in a radio interview. Based on the documents, Lacson said at least two officials now serving in the executive branch were linked to the practice of channelling the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations to dummy non-government organizations. “But it was not clear what their participation was,” he said, citing the lack of supporting documents on how much the officials supposedly pocketed and other details. READ MORE...

ALSO: Lacson clarifies 16 senators on Napoles

And then there were 16. Secretary Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday clarified that at least 16 incumbent and former senators were included on Janet Lim-Napoles’ list of lawmakers who allegedly misused public funds. “Actually sinabi ko lang enough to constitute a quorum, actually enough to ratify a treaty,” he told Malacańang reporters during an ambush interview.
He was referring to his earlier statement that a “quorum so to speak, at least 12” current and previous senators were implicated by Napoles in her draft affidavit, which was given to him months before the alleged pork barrel mastermind gave a “tell-all” account to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. The approval of a treaty by Senate requires two-thirds of its members. With 24 incumbent senators, the ratification of a treaty would require 16 individuals.READ MORE...

ALSO: 2015 budget still has P25-B pork barrel

The Supreme Court may have struck down the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) as unconstitutional, but senators and congressmen are keeping their P25-billion pork barrel in the 2015 national budget. Leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives have asked their respective members to submit a list of infrastructure projects and medical, educational and financial assistance beneficiaries that would be included in next year’s budget. Senators would continue to enjoy an annual fund of P200 million each, while House members would keep their P70-million yearly fund. Thus, the 24 senators would have a combined pork barrel of P4.8 billion, while the 289-member House would have P20.23 billion, for a total of P25.03 billion. Lawmakers have also been advised to confine their fund allocations to six implementing agencies, to which they had realigned at least P21 billion in PDAF in this year’s budget. PDAF used to be the official name of the congressional pork barrel. It was a P25-billion lump sum in the annual budget. Senators and congressmen realigned their PDAF when they approved the 2014 outlay in December, a month after the Supreme Court (SC) struck down the PDAF as unconstitutional and prohibited lawmakers from having any role in implementing the national budget after they have approved it, except to exercise their oversight power. However, the SC ruling does not bar them from including their projects in the budget while they are considering them. This is obviously what they are now trying to do by coming up with a project listing that would be sent to the implementing agencies to be included in their budget proposals. READ MORE...


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Lacson warns De Lima anew not to purge list.

MANILA, MAY 12, 2014 (MANILA STANDARD) Joyce Pangco Panares, Macon Ramos-Araneta & Rey E. Requejo - AT least 16 senators benefitted from the pork barrel scam, rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson said Wednesday.

“I said before that the list of names is enough to constitute a quorum, but actually, it is enough to ratify a treaty,” Lacson said, referring to a list that he said was given him by the husband of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.

Lacson also renewed his warning to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima not to sanitize the so-called Napoles list or he would be forced to disclose the copy that he holds.

“If the list becomes obviously sanitized, then it is my obligation to disclose it. This is a corruption issue, and it is our obligation to call the attention of authorities,” he said.

Earlier, Lacson said based on the so-called Napoles list, a senator who has yet to be implicated in the pork barrel scam received more kickbacks than opposition Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr.

The unsigned affidavit came with a USB stick containing a recording of a “revealing” telephone conversation that Lacson refused to detail.

Lacson said Napoles also named officials and employees of the Budget Department who were involved in the scheme through lawmakers funneled their development funds to bogus projects in exchange for kickbacks.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma threw his support behind De Lima’s appeal to be given time to vet the Napoles list.

“It will be irresponsible if the names are made public without being vetted. That is the essence of the appeal of Secretary de Lima, for her to be given time to vet the list,” Coloma said.

On Monday, Coloma said there was no order from the Palace to withhold the list to protect administration allies who may have also been involved in the P10 billion scam.

De Lima’s refusal to disclose the list has fanned speculation that it was being sanitized to remove administration allies.

On Wednesday, the Catholics Bishops Conference of the Philippines joined the growing list of people and organizations calling on De Lima to immediately release the list of names.

Batanes Bishop Camilo Gregorio, assistant secretary of Apostolic Nunciature of the CBCP, said De Lima should divulge the contents of Napoles’ sworn statement for the sake of transparency and accountability.

The church leader said De Lima’s decision to keep the documents from the public hurt her credibility.

“The government’s campaign against corruption will be put into question if the DOJ refuses to release the list reportedly containing several names of administration allies,” he said.

In the House of Representatives, members of the minority bloc backed a call for a full-blown investigation into the pork barrel scam.

House Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora said if the senators were unable to squeeze information from Napoles during her appearance before the Blue Ribbon Committee last year, the House would be able to do so.

Zamora added that the more the list was being kept from the public, the more speculation would arise.

“What is the benefit of keeping that list and hiding it from the public?” Zamora asked. “The longer you talk about it, the longer you hide it, the more speculation that you are adding to or subtracting from it,” he said at a press conference.

Zamora urged the House leadership to take action on the resolution filed by United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) secretary general and Navotas City Rep. Tobias Tiangco that would compel either Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, or Napoles to divulge the names of erring public officials involved in the multi-billion-peso pork barrel scandal.

“If there is a resolution, we will take it up to the House leadership,” Zamora said, adding the investigation was to intended “to ferret out the truth.”

1-BAP party-list Rep. Silvestre Bello III, a member of the minority bloc, said De Lima had nobody to blame but herself for prematurely naming the three opposition senators as being on Napoles’ list.

If she was going to keep the list from the public, she should not have confirmed their names, Bello added.

Estrada sought “fairness and impartiality” in the pork barrel investigation and asked the Supreme Court to review the Ombudsman’s decision to deny him access to the affidavits of the state witnesses against him.

He said these affidavits were used as basis for finding probable cause to indict him for plunder.

Estrada, Enrile and Revilla, along with over 30 other people were charged with plunder and graft by the Ombudsman over the pork barrel scam.

Estrada pleaded with the Supreme Court to protect his constitutional right to due process that the Ombudsman “grievously ignored, trampled upon and violated.”

He said the Ombudsman’s finding of probable cause was “premised on evidence not disclosed to him” and that he was effectively prevented from exercising his right to answer and to rebut the allegations made against him.

Estrada had filed his request to be furnished copies of the affidavits of the witnesses and counter-affidavits of the respondents on March 20, including the sworn statements of Ruby Tuason, who claimed to serve as his bagman, and Dennis Cunanan, the former director-general of the Technology Resource Center who said Estrada pressured him to approve his projects. The Ombudsman denied his petition on March 27, saying there was no requirement that he be given copies of the requested documents.

Also on Wednesday, De Lima said it was up to the Makati court trying Napoles for serious illegal detention to decide if she should recuperate at the Ospital ng Makati or in her detention cell in a police camp in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

On Tuesday, Napoles’ doctors said she she had fully recovered from her surgery last month and is in stable condition after. With Vito Barcelo and Maricel V. Cruz

‘PNoy knows my stalker’ - Whistleblower By Christine F. Herrera, Almario was PNoy’s legal officer for 27 years—Cam | May. 10, 2014 at 12:01am

WHISTLEBLOWER Sandra Cam on Friday directly linked President Benigno Aquino III to a government official who was allegedly assigned to stalk her, claiming the latter had worked as a legal officer for Aquino 27 years ago.

Cam said President Aquino was the boss of Alex Almario long before he became assistant secretary for Agrarian Reform.

Almario, whom Cam accused of trying to pressure her into keeping silent about the pork barrel scam, was a former provincial board member and district chairman of Aquino’s Liberal Party in Masbate.

On June 10, 2010, a month after the presidential polls, Almario wrote a letter to the editor in a national broadsheet glorifying “Sir Noy” and his straight path, and attacking his predecessor, Cam said.

“Who is Malacanang kidding? Almario, a lawyer, was an LP official who is close to Senate President (Franklin) Drilon and even closer to President Aquino for having worked and lawyered for him many years ago. President Aquino was his boss and they all are still together up to now,” Cam said, reacting to the Palace’s denial that the government was stalking her after Almario’s visit to her April 30.

In a statement, Almario said he was stuck in traffic returning from Tagaytay and decided to make a social call to Cam, who was not around at the time of his visit.

Almario claimed he and Cam were friends, with both of them coming from Masbate, but Cam said they were never friends.

“President Aquino, Drilon and Almario were not only party mates. They worked together and campaigned together after all these years,” Cam said.

In his letter to the editor, Almario said little had been made public about Aquino’s qualities that would define his leadership.

“I learned about a couple of such qualities—his strong character and work ethic – when not too long ago I worked as legal officer in a small Makati-based firm which then 27-year-old Noynoy managed,” Almario wrote.

“Sir Noy (as we fondly addressed him) is the kind who outright sets company directions and promptly has these ingrained in his subordinates’ consciousness. He leaves no stone unturned in pursuing such directions to achieve pre-set goals,” Almario said in his letter.

Almario described Mr. Aquino as having an “impeccable work ethic.”

“He is a textbook example of an executive partial to good office attendance, without disregarding legislated work breaks, holidays. Never the ‘slave-driver’ type, he has his own peculiar and sometimes funny way of dealing with tardy-gallivanting-recalcitrant employees. He catches their attention through cool and kind words laced with conscience-knocking reminders that always have to do with company viability, integrity and social responsibility; subordinates usually emerge from the subtle lecture a much-better, result-oriented employee,” Almario said.

“Once a department head reported late for work. After briefly talking to him, Sir Noy required him to do 10 push-ups right there and then. Without batting an eyelash, the fellow willingly obliged, his way of acknowledging and atoning for his malfeasance,” he said.

Cam said Almario’s letter showed he knew the President well.

“Almario obviously knew the President personally such that when he described his work ethic four years ago, the description came out so accurately. Wasn’t the President the kind who would humiliate or embarrass a government employee or official in public, but in a funny and sarcastic way?” Cam said.

Despite the denials from the Palace, said the harassment continued, with her son being tailed by unidentified men Thursday.

“I have been in various difficult and dangerous situations but it was only last Thursday that my son and his friends complained that they were tailed by unidentified men,” Cam said. Cam said she felt that the government had no qualms in letting her and her family know about their stalking, which started with Almario’s visit and several cars – with no license plates and the engine running -- doing a nightly stakeout across her place.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Napoles list explosive; Senate may ‘collapse’ – Lacson By Christian Esguerra Philippine Daily Inquirer 4:52 pm | Sunday, May 11th, 2014 21


Former senator and now rehabilitation czar Panfilo “Ping” Lacson. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Former Senator Panfilo Lacson on Sunday warned that the 24-member upper chamber might “collapse” under the weight of Janet Lim Napoles’ revelations in her affidavit if the document would be made public.

Nevertheless, he said he was willing to submit to the Senate the three sets of documents earlier given to him by Napoles’ family: a draft affidavit, narration of events, and a list of legislators and other government officials allegedly involved in the pork barrel scam.

“In my view, [the matter] involves national security because the Senate might collapse [‘magiba’] if [the documents] are released to the public,” he said in Filipino in a radio interview.

Based on the documents, Lacson said at least two officials now serving in the executive branch were linked to the practice of channelling the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations to dummy non-government organizations.

“But it was not clear what their participation was,” he said, citing the lack of supporting documents on how much the officials supposedly pocketed and other details.

If required by the Senate, Lacson said he would make his copies of Napoles’ documents available. But citing “national security implications,” he said he would request that they be revealed in an executive session.

“You can just imagine that if this list is made public and public trust on the Senate is eroded further, wouldn’t it have a national security implication?” he asked, but said it would be up to senators to decide where to hold an executive session.

“The narration started in 2000 so you can just imagine the span… the coverage was very vast and the period was very long,” he added.

The Senate blue ribbon committee is set to hold a caucus Monday on Napoles’ affidavit, which Justice Secretary Leila De Lima has so far refused to make public.

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano said he would submit to the committee Monday morning a letter asking it also subpoena documents that would support the allegations contained on the Napoles list.

“The problem with the Napoles list is it will not really tell you much,” he said, insisting that “all documents” pertaining to the pork barrel scam should be released.

Asked whether the committee headed by Sen. Teofisto Guingona III would likely decide in favor of getting the list, he said: “I don’t think there’s any other choice. It’s just a matter of time.”

Cayetano, who was confident that he was not mentioned in the list, warned against Napoles’ revelations, describing her as “very intelligent and very manipulative.”

“Meaning she knows how to cook up schemes and scams,” he said. “So there’s a big possibility that this list her tell-all, but there’s also a big possibility that she’s just using this to muddle to issue against her.”

While he was willing to appeal before the Senate, Lacson said the “best person” to summon was still Napoles.

“Why invite some other people and not the source of all the documents and information?” he said.

If the Senate so desires, he said the hearing could even be held at the Ospital ng Makati, where Napoles is confined.

Lacson clarifies 16 senators on Napoles list By Kristine Angeli Sabillo INQUIRER.net 2:51 pm | Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

MANILA, Philippines – And then there were 16.

Secretary Panfilo Lacson (photo)
on Wednesday clarified that at least 16 incumbent and former senators were included on Janet Lim-Napoles’ list of lawmakers who allegedly misused public funds.

“Actually sinabi ko lang enough to constitute a quorum, actually enough to ratify a treaty,” he told Malacańang reporters during an ambush interview.

He was referring to his earlier statement that a “quorum so to speak, at least 12” current and previous senators were implicated by Napoles in her draft affidavit, which was given to him months before the alleged pork barrel mastermind gave a “tell-all” account to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

The approval of a treaty by Senate requires two-thirds of its members. With 24 incumbent senators, the ratification of a treaty would require 16 individuals.

Lacson said he is not aware of Napoles’ motives for giving him a copy of her draft affidavit nor is he aware that she gave another one to Sandra Cam, president of the Whistle Blowers Association.

The number he gave is consistent with Cam’s statement that 16 senators, in addition to 82 congressmen, were mentioned on Napoles’ list. She said that only three have “graduated” or left Senate after their term expired.

Lacson reiterated his statement that he was waiting for additional information from the Napoles camp so he can submit it to appropriate authorities. But Napoles met with De Lima and gave her testimony.

He also expressed confidence in De Lima who is now being accused of delaying the release of Napoles affidavit to protect administration allies who were implicated.

“Knowing her, hindi sya maglilinis ng listahan (She won’t tamper with the list),” he said.

Nevertheless, the former senator said he would release his own copy if he sees any anomaly, especially if allies of President Benigno Aquino III will be deleted from the list.

FROM PHILSTAR

2015 budget still has P25-B pork barrel By Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 11, 2014 - 12:00am 10 299 googleplus1 0

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court may have struck down the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) as unconstitutional, but senators and congressmen are keeping their P25-billion pork barrel in the 2015 national budget.

Leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives have asked their respective members to submit a list of infrastructure projects and medical, educational and financial assistance beneficiaries that would be included in next year’s budget.

Senators would continue to enjoy an annual fund of P200 million each, while House members would keep their P70-million yearly fund. Thus, the 24 senators would have a combined pork barrel of P4.8 billion, while the 289-member House would have P20.23 billion, for a total of P25.03 billion.

Lawmakers have also been advised to confine their fund allocations to six implementing agencies, to which they had realigned at least P21 billion in PDAF in this year’s budget.

PDAF used to be the official name of the congressional pork barrel. It was a P25-billion lump sum in the annual budget.

Senators and congressmen realigned their PDAF when they approved the 2014 outlay in December, a month after the Supreme Court (SC) struck down the PDAF as unconstitutional and prohibited lawmakers from having any role in implementing the national budget after they have approved it, except to exercise their oversight power.

However, the SC ruling does not bar them from including their projects in the budget while they are considering them. This is obviously what they are now trying to do by coming up with a project listing that would be sent to the implementing agencies to be included in their budget proposals.

Several congressmen interviewed by The STAR said they have no problem with listing their infrastructure projects and beneficiaries of educational assistance or scholarships.

In the case of financial aid like burial assistance, they said the funds could be entrusted to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

They said their problem is with medical aid, since they could not anticipate who among their constituents would get sick.

Besides, they added that Health Secretary Enrique Ona had told them that he did not want to have anything to do anymore with pork barrel funds.

In a recent meeting, House members discussed ways of using their medical assistance funds.

One suggestion was to adopt the practice started by Rep. Alfredo Benitez of Negros Occidental’s third district of using the funds to enroll indigent constituents in PhilHealth.

Benitez is said to have already extended PhilHealth insurance coverage to 70,000 indigent families in his district.

Congressmen reasoned out that funding PhilHealth insurance is consistent with the Aquino administration’s goal of attaining universal health insurance coverage for indigents as well as with the SC decision on PDAF.

Other House members called for sanctioning Ona if he continues to refuse accepting funds intended for government hospitals in Metro Manila and the provinces, where lawmakers could send their sick constituents.

The problem with this arrangement is that referring constituents could be interpreted as post-budget enactment intervention, which the SC ruling on PDAF prohibits, and that Ona and the hospitals might just ignore referrals.

This year, the biggest recipient of PDAF realignment was the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), which received an additional P7.26 billion for the infrastructure projects of senators and congressmen.

Such projects are listed in detail in the DPWH budget. Among the senators who realigned their funds to the agency were Ramon Revilla Jr. and Lito Lapid.

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada gave P100 million of his P200-million PDAF to Manila as financial assistance and split the remaining P100 million between Caloocan City and Lal-lo town in Cagayan. His father, former President Joseph Estrada, is mayor of Manila.

Sen. Nancy Binay realigned P300 million to the National Housing Authority, which is under the supervision of her father, Vice President Jejomar Binay.

The second biggest realignment of P4.12 billion went to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). The money is for “scholarship assistance to students.”

The DSWD received P4.1 billion for “burial, transportation, medical, and food assistance,” while the Department of Health (DOH) was allocated P3.25 billion for “hospitalization and medical assistance.”

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority was given P1.03 billion for “training for employment,” while the Department of Labor and Employment received P1.02 billion for “special program for the training of students.”

Some P1 billion representing the combined PDAF allocations of five senators was realigned to augment the calamity fund.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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