PNoy GETTING SUSPICIOUS OVER DIFFERENT 'PORK' LISTS

President Benigno Aquino III is growing suspicious over the different lists of pork barrel scam beneficiaries being attributed to Janet Lim Napoles. "Ano naman kaya 'yung Chapter III or third revision? Baka naman six months from now, ang lahat ng wala sa listahan ngayon ay nasa listahan na at iyong nandiyan ay babawiin naman niya? Importante na makuha natin iyong kanyang testimonya na makakatulong malaman iyong katotohanan imbes na kung saan-saan tayo dinadala na baka gusto nila tayong mahilo at mawindang. Hindi tayo papayag doon," the President said. The pork barrel scam involves an alleged conspiracy to siphon billions of pesos in lawmakers' priority development assistance funds (PDAF) through fake foundations set up by Napoles. Napoles earlier submitted to the Department of Justice a list of lawmakers who allegedly benefited from the scam. Rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson and whistle-blower Sandra Cam later revealed they also have copies of the list. Lacson's list, which has since been made public, was not signed by Napoles. "Tinanong ko lang: Saan mo ba nakuha ito? Ilan ba talaga ang itinuturo doon sa listahang tangan mo?" the President recalled asking Lacson in a recent discussion. The President earlier told reporters in Myanmar that he has seen two of the alleged pork scam lists and that the entries do not match. READ MORE...

ALSO: IS IT A PING THING OR THE REAL THING?

CITY and municipal mayors were excluded from charges filed against former President Gloria Arroyo in relation to the P900-million Malampaya fund scam, according to alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles. The exclusion from charges was in exchange for their support for the “future candidacy” of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima for the Senate, Napoles said in a draft affidavit given to former senator now Rehabilitation Secretary Panfilo “Ping” Lacson. Lacson submitted the draft affidavit to the Senate Blue Ribbon committee Tuesday. He has said it was given to him by Napoles’ husband, Jimmy, last March. In the draft affidavit, Napoles accused Levito Baligod, lawyer of scam whistleblowers, of excluding from the charges 97 mayors who were the alleged beneficiaries in the P900-million Malampaya gas project. “I later found out that no mayor was included in the charge sheet by the Department of Justice because Atty. Levito Baligod interviews each mayor involved and promised their exclusion in the cases provided that they will support the candidacy in Senate of the DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima,” Napoles said. Baligod, who attended a Senate hearing on the Whistleblowers’ Act, denied Napoles’ claim. “I have not seen the shadows of these 97 mayors involved in the Malamapaya fund scam,” he said. He challenged Napoles to identify at least one mayor who he supposedly interviewed. The National Bureau of Investigation in October last year filed plunder charges against Arroyo, Napoles, and 20 others before the Office of the Ombudsman over the alleged Malampaya fund scam. READ MORE...

A RIGHTEOUS LEILA SAYS NAPOLES AFFIDAVIT SHE CARRIES IS THE ONLY ONE THAT WILL STAND IN COURT

JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima yesterday said the camp of businesswoman and alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles submitted to her Tuesday a “duly executed initial affidavit” detailing not only the P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund scam but also a similar anomaly involving the P900-million Malampaya Fund. De Lima said the affidavit was submitted to her by Napoles’ lawyers although she clarified that it was only an initial affidavit. “Yesterday (Tuesday) may sinubmit sa akin yung signed, duly executed initial affidavit covering the three senators and the five congressmen already charged in the first batch at meron ding about Malampaya,” De Lima told reporters referring to Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr., and Jinggoy Estrada. The five former members of the House of Representatives are Rodolfo “Ompong” Plaza, Samuel Dangwa, Constantino Jaraula, Edgar Valdez, and now Masbate governor Rizalina Seachon-Lanete. De Lima said although it is just an initial affidavit, it was already signed and duly notarized. She said her office is still waiting for a complete affidavit from Napoles. “Yung affidavit na sinubmit kahapon was the initial affidavit, signed and duly notarized pero initial affidavit pa lang yun,” she said adding she expect the second affidavit to be more complete. “It will be more extended because that will supposedly cover the entire list,” she said. De Lima dismissed lists reported in media. READ MORE...

ALSO: No Senate custody for ‘pork’ senators

Senate President Franklin Drilon believes the Senate cannot take custody of Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. if they are charged in court for plunder, which is a non-bailable offense. “We cannot because under the rules of court, taking a person in custody by another person is called recognizance,” he said. “In other words, you do not have to go to jail or post bail. You can be placed in the custody of a responsible citizen. But that remedy is available only in bailable offenses. If it is plunder, it is non-bailable and therefore, placing the accused in custody of the Senate is not an available remedy.” Drilon rejected suggestions that an independent body handle the investigation of the pork barrel scam following the linking of several lawmakers to the scam. “The investigation of the pork barrel fund scam is within the exclusive mandate of the ombudsman because the ombudsman’s mandate is constitutional,” he said. “You cannot remove the ombudsman in the prosecution on the pork barrel scam.” Drilon said under the Constitution, the Office of the Ombudsman has jurisdiction over graft cases. READ MORE...

ALSO: Drilon, Marcos, 4 other senators not on De Lima's Napoles list

Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senators Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Lito Lapid, Cynthia Villar and Ralph Recto are not on the Napoles list submitted by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Thursday to the chair of the Senate blue ribbon committee. But Drilon, Marcos, Santiago, Lapid, Villar and Recto are in the accounting records of whistle-blower Benhur Luy as having had dealings with Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the P10-billion scam involving the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). This week, the Inquirer began running a series of articles culled from a copy of Luy’s hard disk drive (HDD) given by his parents in the presence of his former lawyer, Levito Baligod, on April 27, 2013. Baligod said that a month after giving the HDD to the Inquirer, Luy signed printouts running over 2,000 pages from the HDD during his questioning at the National Bureau of Investigation. A copy of the digital files and the accompanying printouts were subsequently submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman. The Inquirer series on Wednesday said that 25 senators, including 15 incumbents, appeared in the Luy files from 2002 to 2012, during which Napoles allegedly channeled allocations from the PDAF to ghost projects and kickbacks. READ MORE...


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PNoy Geting suspicious over different 'pork' lists


PNoy

MANILA, MAY 19, 2014 (ABS-CBN) By RG Cruz - President Benigno Aquino III is growing suspicious over the different lists of pork barrel scam beneficiaries being attributed to Janet Lim Napoles.

"Ano naman kaya 'yung Chapter III or third revision? Baka naman six months from now, ang lahat ng wala sa listahan ngayon ay nasa listahan na at iyong nandiyan ay babawiin naman niya? Importante na makuha natin iyong kanyang testimonya na makakatulong malaman iyong katotohanan imbes na kung saan-saan tayo dinadala na baka gusto nila tayong mahilo at mawindang. Hindi tayo papayag doon," the President said.

The pork barrel scam involves an alleged conspiracy to siphon billions of pesos in lawmakers' priority development assistance funds (PDAF) through fake foundations set up by Napoles.

Napoles earlier submitted to the Department of Justice a list of lawmakers who allegedly benefited from the scam.

Rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson and whistle-blower Sandra Cam later revealed they also have copies of the list. Lacson's list, which has since been made public, was not signed by Napoles.

"Tinanong ko lang: Saan mo ba nakuha ito? Ilan ba talaga ang itinuturo doon sa listahang tangan mo?" the President recalled asking Lacson in a recent discussion.

The President earlier told reporters in Myanmar that he has seen two of the alleged pork scam lists and that the entries do not match.

He said this is the reason why government must first vet the testimony of Napoles.

"So ngayon, ihahain ba natin iyong kaso ng 25, bahala na si Batman? Or manigurado tayo na kapag hinain natin, kung tayo'y naniwala na may ginawa itong taong ito, nandiyan lahat ng ebidensya, isampa natin sa tamang oras iyong kaso para siguradong magbayad iyong mga may utang sa bansa,” he said.

Nonetheless, Aquino seemed cold to the idea of reopening the Senate investigation.

"Honestly, saan ba patungo ito… Ikaw ba ay tutulong maglinaw sa usaping ito o ang habol mo lang ay paguluhin? Para dahil kaka-explore natin noong lahat ng akusasyon, kaka-imbestiga, gusto nilang ma-time out na ako para wala nang maisampa iyong kaso. So syempre kailangan mag-ingat tayo diyan,” he said.

FROM MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHTS

IS IT A PING THING OR THE REAL THING? By JP LOPEZ | May 15, 2014

CITY and municipal mayors were excluded from charges filed against former President Gloria Arroyo in relation to the P900-million Malampaya fund scam, according to alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.

The exclusion from charges was in exchange for their support for the “future candidacy” of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima for the Senate, Napoles said in a draft affidavit given to former senator now Rehabilitation Secretary Panfilo “Ping” Lacson.

Lacson submitted the draft affidavit to the Senate Blue Ribbon committee Tuesday. He has said it was given to him by Napoles’ husband, Jimmy, last March.

In the draft affidavit, Napoles accused Levito Baligod, lawyer of scam whistleblowers, of excluding from the charges 97 mayors who were the alleged beneficiaries in the P900-million Malampaya gas project.

“I later found out that no mayor was included in the charge sheet by the Department of Justice because Atty. Levito Baligod interviews each mayor involved and promised their exclusion in the cases provided that they will support the candidacy in Senate of the DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima,” Napoles said.

Baligod, who attended a Senate hearing on the Whistleblowers’ Act, denied Napoles’ claim.

“I have not seen the shadows of these 97 mayors involved in the Malamapaya fund scam,” he said.

He challenged Napoles to identify at least one mayor who he supposedly interviewed.

The National Bureau of Investigation in October last year filed plunder charges against Arroyo, Napoles, and 20 others before the Office of the Ombudsman over the alleged Malampaya fund scam.

The P900-million Malampaya funds were supposed to benefit farmer-beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program affected by storm “Ondoy” and typhoon “Pepeng” in 2009. The funds did not reach the recipients and were instead allegedly pocketed by 12 bogus non-government organizations controlled by Napoles.

Napoles did not say how Baligod went to each mayor to interview them.

Napoles tagged Ruby Tuason, a government witness in the P10-billion pork barrel scam, as mastermind in the Malampaya Fund scam.

She said it was Tuason who approached her about getting money from Malacañang.

“It was around November 2009 when Ruby Tuason approached me and said that she will be able to get money from Malacañang which shall be used for the then coming 2010 presidential national elections,” Napoles said.

“Later I found out that the money came from the Malampaya fund,” she added.

Napoles said Tuason asked for a 60 percent commission of the money that would be used for the elections. The money will be coursed through the Department of Agrarian Reform.

It was Tuason, she said, who provided the list of 97 mayors who would supposedly benefit from the project.

“I agreed to such proposal of commission. In that computation, I will get the 5 percent commission from the P900,000,000 excluding the 35 percent production cost,” she added.

She said she initially refused Tuason’s idea that the deliveries be made in cash to the mayors “because they wanted funds for their election campaign.”

“I refused the idea but I was prompted later on to give in because I have to get the investment that I already advanced to them. During the entire transaction, whenever I requested Ruby to follow up about the documentation of the project, I often hear her talking to a certain Medy Poblador for the purpose of the follow-up,” she said.

It was no known who Napoles was referring to but a Remedios “Medy” Poblador served as secretary for special concerns during Arroyo’s presidency.

Napoles said after the release of the Malampaya funds, Tuason was able to purchase a P300-million house in Dasmariñas Village in Makati City.

Earlier, Tuason, in a sworn statement, said Napoles was the one who approached her for connections in Malacañang for the alleged Malampaya fund anomaly.

A RIGHTEOUS LEILA; SAYS NAPOLES AFFIDAVIT SHE CARRIES IS THE ONLY ONE THAT WILL STAND IN COURT By ASHZEL HACHERO | May 15, 2014 MALAYA

JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima yesterday said the camp of businesswoman and alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles submitted to her Tuesday a “duly executed initial affidavit” detailing not only the P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund scam but also a similar anomaly involving the P900-million Malampaya Fund.

De Lima said the affidavit was submitted to her by Napoles’ lawyers although she clarified that it was only an initial affidavit.

“Yesterday (Tuesday) may sinubmit sa akin yung signed, duly executed initial affidavit covering the three senators and the five congressmen already charged in the first batch at meron ding about Malampaya,” De Lima told reporters referring to Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr., and Jinggoy Estrada.

The five former members of the House of Representatives are Rodolfo “Ompong” Plaza, Samuel Dangwa, Constantino Jaraula, Edgar Valdez, and now Masbate governor Rizalina Seachon-Lanete.

De Lima said although it is just an initial affidavit, it was already signed and duly notarized. She said her office is still waiting for a complete affidavit from Napoles.

“Yung affidavit na sinubmit kahapon was the initial affidavit, signed and duly notarized pero initial affidavit pa lang yun,” she said adding she expect the second affidavit to be more complete.

“It will be more extended because that will supposedly cover the entire list,” she said.

De Lima dismissed lists reported in media.

“That is worthless piece of paper and not admissible evidence. You can’t hold Mrs. Napoles accountable to that. If she denies that later, pwede kasi di pirmado at notarized,” she said adding that it would be best if the list has an “accompanying story, accompanying affidavit about the list and therefore notarized and signed.”

A draft affidavit of Napoles was made public Tuesday by the Senate Blue Ribbon committee. The affidavit was submitted to the committee by former senator now Rehabilitation Secretary Panfilo Lacson who has said Napoles’ husband gave the affidavit to him last March. The affidavit contained names of those supposed involved in the pork barrel scam.

De Lima said she would remind the Blue Ribbon, before which she will appear today, to treat with “extreme care” the Napoles’ list she would submit to the panel.

She said all she would do in the hearing is act as a “mere transmitter” of the documents subpoenaed by the panel.

“I will continue to advocate for extreme care, prudence, circumspection and discernment in handling this matter. Please understand why I’m being careful. Since may subpoena ang magiging role ko lang ay transmitter of documents. Kasi wala na akong maa-add diyan, except for those na nakasuhan na,” she added.

De Lima earlier rebuffed repeated appeals for her to make public the list given by Napoles when they talked last April 21 at the Ospital ng Makati before Napoles underwent surgery, saying it should first undergo thorough verification and validation.

VETTING

Asked if the lists currently being reported by media are meant to sow confusion in the ongoing pork barrel scam investigation, De Lima declined to give a straight answer.

“Kayo na ang mag-isip ng ganun. Mahirap magsabi ng walang dahilan, kaya I’m advocating for extreme care kasi pag ganyan, labas ng labas ng wala pang kwento at hindi pa talaga nagsasalita publicly si Mrs. Napoles. Kaya sa communication ko sa Senate Blue Ribbon, I will still express my view na kung ako ang susundin ay hintayin ang resulta ng vetting,” she added.

But she clarified that this stance should not be misconstrued as the DOJ resisting efforts of the Senate to give what it wanted.

“Sasabihin ko pa rin na sana, even if ma-submit na namin yang mga dokumento na yan sa kanila, hinay-hinay lang talaga kasi nga wala pa yung vetting process. Nakita niyo na ngayon sa mga balita, yung mga napangalanan, nagde-deny lahat. This is going to be Mrs. Napoles’ word as against the word of those she is accusing. The accuser’s word against those accused,” De Lima further said.

As to when the vetting process being conducted by the DOJ and the NBI would be completed, De Lima said they are doing everything to finish it but that the sheer volume of the data or information is such that it would take some time.

“Sabi nga ng mga lawyers umaalis sila sa Ospital ng Makati medyo madaling araw na, alas tres because of the sheer volume of the data, sheer volume of the information dahil nga kumpletong listahan na yan,” she added.

‘ONLY ONE LIST’

Napoles’ lawyer, Bruce Rivera, said some of the names mentioned in reports were not in the list given by De Lima to Napoles.

“I don’t want to create confusion but there are people reported in the newspaper reports to be included but are not included. As early as now, the public should be careful not to believe what has been coming out,” he said.

At least two Napoles lists have been released to media so far: one from Lacson and another from Benhur Luy, Napoles’ cousin and former employee and now principal whistleblower in the scam.

Rivera said they only have one list, referring to the list of De Lima, and that the list of Lacson is “incomplete.”

“There are people who will want to create suspicion on our list. There is only one list,” he said.

Rivera refused to name those who were not in Napoles’ list.

He questioned Luy’s list.

“He is the whistle blower for the longest time dapat nilabas niya ‘yan dati pa. Hindi ko alam saan niya nakuha ‘yang list na ‘yan. To be honest, he was not there at the beginning so there are transactions at the beginning, saan niya kinuha ‘yun? Siguro may magaling siyang psychic,” Rivera added.

Rivera said he trusts De Lima would not sanitize the list.

Asked why it is taking them time to reveal the names in the list, he said, “We want that if we come out with the list, we could substantiate with evidence. We are responsible individuals. Kung gusto lang naming manira, we would come out with a list and let the media prey on it and destroy reputations. We do not do that. If the list comes out, it would be substantiated with proof.”

SENATE PROBE

Senate majority leader Alan Peter Cayetano asked Blue Ribbon committee chairman Sen. Teofisto Guingona III to immediately reopen its investigation on pork barrel scam.

But Guingona remained undecided as to when to reopen the probe, saying he is still waiting for De Lima to submit documents.

Guingona said De Lima has until today to submit the documents.

He said once the committee gets the documents from De Lima, it would call for a caucus to discuss what to do next.

Cayetano, who was among those in the list submitted by Lacson, said he has asked Guingona to immediately re-open the pork barrel scam investigation in order to put an end to all speculations.

“Questions, suspicions and mudslinging will only get worse if we will not call for a hearing immediately and it is possible that the executive and the judiciary will be the next target,” he said.

He asked the committee to subpoena Napoles, Lacson, De Lima, Luy, and all whistleblowers.

PROOF

Sen. JV Ejercito, a former congressman who was also in the list submitted by Lacson, said he does not know Napoles.

“I never even gave her a `hi’ or `hello,’ what more allocate funds to her NGOs,” Ejercito told reporters.

Ejercito said he is willing to give P5 million to anybody who can show proof that he had dealings with Napoles when he was still a member of the House of Representatives.

Sen. Francis Escudero challenged Napoles to submit a signed affidavit and speak under oath to prove that she is telling the truth.

“Why is Napoles riding on the credibility of people like Secretary Ping Lacson and other parties to mouth what she wants the public to believe? Why can she not stand on her statements and face those she accuses squarely in proper forum”? he said.

Escudero also asked the Senate to summon Napoles, Lacson, and Sandra Cam, president of the whistleblowers group who also claims to have a list provided by a source.

“It is reckless for Napoles to falsely drag my name in her con dealings because there simply isn’t any grain of truth there. And I think it is equally reckless for third parties who have no personal knowledge on the matter to parrot lies at the expense of their credibility,” Escudero said.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said all versions of the list must be supported with documents and testimonies.

He asked the public to “be discerning” about allegations against members of the Senate.

“Tingnan natin kung alin ang propaganda lang, at tingnan natin kung alin ang alegasyong may tunay na basehan,” he said.

SIDE ISSUES

House minority leader Ronaldo Zamora pressed Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to open a separate House investigation on the issue and ask Napoles to testify.

“There should only really be one list, and that is the list that Napoles prepared,” he said.

Zamora said the House should intervene because “there’s a lot of confusion, a lot of side issues, and we should find out what’s wrong and find out the real truth about the allegations.”

“We do not want this to drag on,” he said. “What we want is not just an affidavit, we want the witness to come to testify.”

Another opposition congressman, 1-BAP party-list Rep. Silvestre Bello III, criticized Guingona for accepting the Napoles list from Lacson.

“Because it is unsigned and therefore it has no probative value at kung gusto mong gamitin ang mas mabigat na salita, it should be treated as a mere scrap of paper,” he said.

Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., a member of the majority bloc, warned that Napoles could choose to remain silent if called to testify.

“Calling Napoles is a good proposal, but she may just invoke her right against self-incrimination. While I believe that her affidavit is tantamount to waiving her right against self-incrimination, she may still maintain her silence,” Barzaga said. – With Evan Orias, JP Lopez, Wendell Vigilia and Jocelyn Montemayor

FROM PHILSTAR

No Senate custody for ‘pork’ senators (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 16, 2014 - 12:00am


THE PHILIPPINE SENATE

MANILA, Philippines - Senate President Franklin Drilon believes the Senate cannot take custody of Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. if they are charged in court for plunder, which is a non-bailable offense.

“We cannot because under the rules of court, taking a person in custody by another person is called recognizance,” he said. “In other words, you do not have to go to jail or post bail. You can be placed in the custody of a responsible citizen. But that remedy is available only in bailable offenses. If it is plunder, it is non-bailable and therefore, placing the accused in custody of the Senate is not an available remedy.”

Drilon rejected suggestions that an independent body handle the investigation of the pork barrel scam following the linking of several lawmakers to the scam.

“The investigation of the pork barrel fund scam is within the exclusive mandate of the ombudsman because the ombudsman’s mandate is constitutional,” he said.

“You cannot remove the ombudsman in the prosecution on the pork barrel scam.”

Drilon said under the Constitution, the Office of the Ombudsman has jurisdiction over graft cases.

“This issue is a violation of the anti-graft law and therefore it is the ombudsman,” he said.

Drilon said Enrile, Estrada and Revilla face preventive suspension once the Sandiganbayan issues warrants of arrest against them.

“Yes, because they will be preventively suspended by the Sandiganbayan because of the provision in the Plunder Law that a preventive suspension is imposed on them,” he said. “Decisions of the Supreme Court (say) the Sandiganbayan has no discretion but to impose preventive suspension.”

Drilon said once suspended from office, the three senators are stripped of their powers to file bills.

“You cannot file a bill because your functions as a senator will be suspended,” he said.

“You are preventively suspended. Now, let me, however, state for the record, that under the decisions of the Supreme Court, the preventive suspension is for 90 days.”

Drilon said the Supreme Court has ruled in the case of Governor Veloso that it is not correct to have a perpetual preventive suspension.

“Because if you suspend him, in effect, perpetually, you are in fact dismissing the public official because the term will expire when he is under preventive suspension,” he said.

“So, the decision of the Supreme Court as in the case of Governor Veloso was that the preventive suspension is obligatory to be imposed by the Sandiganbayan, but it cannot last beyond 90 days.”

The staff of the three senators will continue to work since they remain employees of the Senate, he added.

‘Issue being muddled’

Drilon believes some sectors could be undertaking efforts to muddle the issue of the pork barrel scam.

“There is no political issue involved,” he said. “Let me make that clear. This is not about politics. This is about enforcing the Anti-Graft law.”

Drilon said that the entire pork barrel scam is about violations of the Anti-Graft and Corruption Act.

“Whoever is proven to be guilty of this would face the penalties under the law,” he said. “It is a matter of upholding the law, and I am confident that our judicial system will properly address and respond to this pork barrel scam.”

Drilon said it is entirely possible that some political operators are using the pork barrel scam to spread black propaganda against some lawmakers in anticipation of the 2016 elections.

“Do I see a concerted effort to muddle the issue?” he asked. “I have said from the very start, let us be wary of efforts to muddle the issue. Let us be wary of political operators who are trying to earn a living for 2016, who could be muddling the issue.

“Because this case is, to my mind, about the violation of the Anti-Graft Law, and if it’s proven, the appropriate penalties must be fully meted out.”

Drilon and his colleagues in the Senate have all denied having any dealings with Napoles and challenged their accusers to present evidence to support their allegations.

Drilon said the pork barrel scam would not affect the Senate as an institution, and that it would emerge stronger after all legal processes are concluded.

“The Senate is not in crisis,” he said. “There may be some problems of the individual members, but the Senate as an institution remains strong. The Senate will not collapse as asserted by some people. The Senate is different from the people who compose it. People may come and go, but the Senate will remain as an institution of democracy and as a vital part of our democratic government.”

Drilon said the Senate will continue working on passing important pieces of legislation while all the controversy over the use of the pork barrel is being sorted out.

“Despite the issues facing certain senators, we have remained focused on our legislative work so as not to derail the approval of important measures that we are deeply committed to pass for the benefit of our people,” he said. –Christina Mendez, Marvin Sy

FROM THE INQUIRER

Drilon, Marcos, 4 other senators not on Dw Lima's Napoles list By TJ A. Burgonio Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:24 am | Friday, May 16th, 2014


DE LIMA

MANILA, Philippines—Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senators Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Lito Lapid, Cynthia Villar and Ralph Recto are not on the Napoles list submitted by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Thursday to the chair of the Senate blue ribbon committee.

But Drilon, Marcos, Santiago, Lapid, Villar and Recto are in the accounting records of whistle-blower Benhur Luy as having had dealings with Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the P10-billion scam involving the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

This week, the Inquirer began running a series of articles culled from a copy of Luy’s hard disk drive (HDD) given by his parents in the presence of his former lawyer, Levito Baligod, on April 27, 2013.

Baligod said that a month after giving the HDD to the Inquirer, Luy signed printouts running over 2,000 pages from the HDD during his questioning at the National Bureau of Investigation. A copy of the digital files and the accompanying printouts were subsequently submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman.

The Inquirer series on Wednesday said that 25 senators, including 15 incumbents, appeared in the Luy files from 2002 to 2012, during which Napoles allegedly channeled allocations from the PDAF to ghost projects and kickbacks.

Senate subpoenas Luy’s hard disk drive

The Senate blue ribbon committee has issued a subpoena to Luy, directing him to submit by next Wednesday his controversial digital files purportedly detailing alleged questionable pork barrel transactions between lawmakers and Napoles.

Also on Thursday, De Lima went to Sen. Teofisto Guingona III’s office to ask for a week’s extension—until May 22—for the submission of the affidavit that she got from Napoles on April 22. She said Napoles’ lawyers were working on an “extended sworn statement.”

“We can all agree perhaps that this is better than a mere list that stands by itself, without even a narrative that would inform those named therein of what acts are actually imputed against them,” she said.

At a glance

At a glance, all the 11 senators on Napoles’ signed list given to De Lima are included in Luy’s digital files on senators who dealt with the alleged pork barrel queen, except for Escudero. Escudero is not included in the files of Luy, Napoles’ then finance officer who was instructed by the businesswoman to keep a file of her transactions.

Luy’s records also include former Senators Edgardo Angara, Tessie Aquino-Oreta, Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., Rodolfo Biazon, Robert Jaworski, Loi Estrada, Ramon Magsaysay Jr. and Ramon Revilla Sr.

Drilon and other senators who are mentioned described as preposterous the files maintained through the years upon orders by Napoles to Luy, then her finance officer. Napoles kept Luy hostage for three months after he had threatened to reveal her activities to authorities for which she was charged with serious illegal detention.

The senators named in the files have demanded a confrontation with Luy and a resumption of the committee’s hearing on the scam. A report on its 10 hearings has been circulated for signing by the committee members. It recommends the prosecution of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla for plunder.

At a news forum on Thursday, Drilon warned the public against “operators” out to muddle the investigations of the alleged misuse of P10 billion in PDAF allocations over the past decade.

Even as more senators got dragged into the controversy, Drilon said the 24-member chamber remained focused on crafting key legislation before adjourning in June and was far from collapsing.

And in a bid to move away from the controversy, Drilon urged the public to monitor congressional discussions on the 2015 budget and guard against the revival of the pork barrel. “I urge the media and the public: Guard your Senate and make sure that the PDAF is not revived in the 2015 budget,” he said.

He said the Senate wasn’t distracted from passing priority legislation before adjourning sine die on June 13. He said that for instance, the Senate was on track in passing on final reading 16 measures, including those strengthening the Sandiganbayan and extending the corporate life of the Philippine National Railways.

Drilon’s photograph with Napoles at a party went viral on social media after the scandal broke in July last year. His name appears in Luy’s files. He denies any wrongdoing.

Drilon stressed that the PDAF scam was a legal, not a political, issue that the country’s judicial system could properly address.

He said the public should be “discerning” when parsing Napoles’ lists of senators involved in the racket. He was referring to the different lists containing different names and numbers of senators purportedly involved in the racket.

“Let us be wary of efforts to muddle the issue. Let us be wary of political operators who are trying to earn a living for 2016, who could be muddling the issue,” Drilon said.

Drilon said the Catholic bishops’ call on scam-tainted lawmakers to go on leave was better addressed to the “conscience of the public servants.”

Vice President Jejomar Binay on Thursday told reporters that all those involved in the scam should be investigated and those found guilty must be punished.

No one should be spared

“I’ll be emphatic in saying whoever they are—allies, relatives, political opponents— should be charged in court if warranted,” he said.

On Thursday, Pimentel decried his inclusion in Luy’s financial records as among the senators that transacted with Napoles.

Pimentel said a certain Mon Arcenas had no power, authority or permission to receive any kickback in relation to his PDAF from his office.

“The allegation of Benhur Luy that my office or I personally received dirty money as kickback from the disbursement of PDA Funds allotted to my office in 2013 or any other time is utterly malicious, completely false and thoroughly defamatory of my reputation,” he said in a statement.—With reports from Christine O. Avendaño and Ben O. de Vera


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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