PROBER: DEAD PEOPLE, TODDLER LISTED AS BENEFICIARIES OF JINGGOY'S 'PORK' PROJECTS 

AUGUST 6 --PHOTO: Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who is facing graft and plunder charges in connection with the alleged pork barrel scam, arrives at Sandiganbayan in Quezon City on Tuesday, August 5, for his bail hearing. Plunder is a non-bailable offense if backed by strong evidence. Jinggoy at Sandigan bail hearing Jinggoy at Sandigan bail hearing. Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who is facing graft and plunder charges in connection with the alleged pork barrel scam, arrives at Sandiganbayan in Quezon City on Tuesday, August 5, for his bail hearing. Plunder is a non-bailable offense if backed by strong evidence. GMA News Aside from deceased people, even a toddler was listed among the beneficiaries of supposed projects funded by the pork barrel allocations of Senator Jinggoy Estrada, an Ombudsman field investigator testified Tuesday. Lawyer Vic Escalante told the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division during Estrada's bail hearing that none of the local officials and listed beneficiaries in the provinces they went to said they benefitted from a project funded by Estrada's pork barrel or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). "All the beneficiaries denied receiving the kits funded by the PDAF of Estrada. Some of them disclosed that their relatives or spouses who were also included in the list were already dead," he said. "A father of one of the listed beneficiaries said his son is only one year old and seven months," Escalante added. * READ MORE...

Jinggoy says, All hearsay!: Infant got Estrada pork; Other recipients are the dead with ghost projects

AUGUST 6--Unperturbed, Estrada and his lawyers dismissed Escalante’s testimony as mere hearsay, pointing out that the investigator admitted in court that he had no personal knowledge if the senator himself received kickbacks from the projects. Estrada challenged government prosecutors to present their main witnesses against him, principal whistle-blowers Benhur Luy and Ruby Tuason, to speed up the proceedings. “He does not have any knowledge that Luy delivered money to me or any person for that matter. I’m pretty confident that I will be granted bail,” he told reporters after the three-hour court proceeding. Estrada, who allegedly pocketed P183 million in commissions, accused the prosecution of delaying the bail hearing, noting that the testimonies of the witnesses that the prosecution was set to present in the weekly hearing had “no probative value.”

“I hope the prosecution will present their strong witnesses, Benhur Luy and Ruby Tuason, for the court to determine if I will be (allowed to post) bail or not,” he said. Asked why he wanted Luy and Tuason to take the witness stand, Estrada told the Inquirer: “The other prosecution witnesses will not have anything to say. By presenting Luy and Tuason, at least it could expedite the hearing.” “The time in jail is time wasted. It’s been too long already,” he said of his detention. Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada also believed that Escalante’s testimony was weak. “It’s all hearsay. So there’s no damage at all,” the former President told reporters. READ THE FULL REPORT FROM THE BEGINNING...

ALSO: Comic relief in Jinggoy plunder case 

AUGUST 6 --It wasn’t all courtroom drama. Several amusing exchanges among the defense lawyers, public prosecutors and justices of the Sandiganbayan have made the bail hearing of legislators and private individuals facing plunder and graft charges in connection with the P10-billion pork barrel racket more interesting. On Tuesday, lawyer Stephen David provided such comic relief for those attending the hearing of the bail petition of Sen. Jinggoy Estrada when he suddenly asked for a restroom break in the heat of his grilling of prosecution witness Vic Escalante Jr. ‘Natural right’ --Escalante, a field investigator of the Office of the Ombudsman, returned to the witness stand to testify about Estrada’s supposed role in coursing millions of pesos in public funds to the nongovernment organizations (NGOs) established by David’s client, suspected pork barrel scam architect Janet Lim-Napoles. “While the witness is looking at the documents, may I ask the court if I could …” David’s voice trailed off. “Go ahead. It’s your natural right,” Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo replied, sensing David wanted to relieve himself and drawing laughter from the audience.

“You may join (David) if you want,” Associate Justice Roland Jurado, chair of the Fifth Division, told the defense panel as he ordered a five-minute break. Taking his turn to cross-examine Escalante after questioning by Estrada’s lawyer Sabino Acut Jr., David asked the antigraft investigator if he saw the name of Napoles in the various documents regarding the supposed release of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocation of Estrada to Napoles-linked NGOs. He also quizzed the witness whose names appeared in the documents, including the list of officials and board of trustees of the NGOs. * READ  MORE...

(ALSO) Erap: Jinggoy careless but innocent in PDAF scam 

AUGUST 6 --Former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada believes his son, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, was careless about his pork barrel funds but is innocent of the crime of stealing public funds. Speaking to ANC's Headstart, Estrada said his son has no intention of misusing his priority development assistance funds (PDAF). He pointed out that during his time as senator, he usually let his secretary handle his pork barrel allocations as long as the applications are in order. "Maybe he was just careless. He doesn't have that intention to take advantage of his PDAF," he said.

Instead, the former president placed the blame on the scam solely on the budget department and implementing agencies, saying they are the ones who check if a non-government organization is legitimate or not. "They do not tell me where the pork barrel is going. You just apply. I would say because the implementation of that will go to the implementing agencies and then before the release, the DBM will examine. They are the ones who should see to it where the money is going," he said. "They are the ones handling the money. That is their duty, not the senator," he added. Estrada said the scam could actually be a set up cooked up by the Department of Justice with the whistle-blowers. "Well, this can be a set-up. Even the DOJ can talk to this people and say, blame these senators. Name them, name them," he aid. During the interview, the former president also castigated his former social secretary, Ruby Tuason, for implicating Jinggoy in the scam. * READ  MORE...

ALSO: Bong Revilla got P9M ‘rebate’, Benhur Luy tells Sandigan 

AUGUST 7 --Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. got a P9 million “rebate” or kickback from a multimillion-peso transaction by detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles with one of the government-owned and -controlled corporations that channeled lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel to bogus non-government organizations, a witness told the Sandiganbayan Thursday. During a hearing for Revilla’s bail petition, Benhur Luy, a former employee of Napoles, said lawyer Richard Cambe, Revilla’s staff, would regularly go to Napoles’ office to claim the senator’s alleged commission from the P40 million deal with the National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor), which channeled the lawmaker’s pork barrel to ghost livelihood projects from 2006 to 2010. In the previous bail hearing‎, Luy said that the now detained senator allegedly received 50 percent of the total cost from Napoles’ livelihood projects.
“Paulit-ulit ang punta ni Cambe para kunin ang commission ni Senator Revilla [Cambe would repeatedly go to get Senator Revilla’s commission],” Luy, who was wearing a bullet proof vest, told the court. * READ MORE...

ALSO By Ellen Tordesillas: DINKY SOLIMAN AND COMPANY RESCUED ABAD WHEN AQUINO SISTERS WANTED HIM OUT 

PHOTO: AQUINO SISTERS WITH THE BINAYS-- FROM our always reliable source: A few days after the Supreme Court declared the parts of the Disbursement Accelerated Program unconstitutional last July 1, three presidential sisters, Ballsy Cruz, Pinky Abellada, and Kris Aquino (Viel Dee didn’t join them) talked with the President to let go of Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad. As we all know by now, DAP, the issue that has shaken the otherwise Teflon presidency of Benigno Aquino III, was the brainchild of Abad. He revised the 2011, 2012, and 1023 General Appropriations Acts passed by Congress after
tedious deliberations and signed by the President for programs, projects, and activities Malacañang deemed more to their liking. The Supreme Court’s vote was unanimous (13-0) stunning Malacañang who had thought it would be 7-6 in their favor.

At that time, Aquino had not issued any statement yet. Word from Malacañang insiders said he went ballistic as shown later by his speeches waging war on the High Court. The source said Aquino appeared convinced by the sisters. Abad’s comrades in the cabinet were alarmed and they took action. Social Services Secretary Dinky Soliman, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Teresita Quintos Deles, presidential adviser on the Peace Process, and Mely Nicolas, chairperson of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (the core group of the 2005 Hyatt 10) went to Aquino and appealed for Abad’s retention. But it was a loaded appeal because they said that if the President let go of Abad, they will all resign. The President’s decision was made known on July 11, during the cabinet meeting on the 2015 budget. “To accept his resignation is to assign to him a wrong. And I can’t accept the notion that doing right by our people is a wrong,” he said to the applause of members of his cabinet except Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is part of the cabinet as chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council. The next day, July 12, Abad released a statement disclosing that he tendered his resignation July 10. On the President’s rejection of his resignation, Abad said: “Although I was wholly prepared to relinquish my post, I am grateful for the
President’s expression of his continuing trust and confidence in my leadership of the Department. I have thus chosen to defer to his better judgment and stay.” The presidential sisters attempt to influence the President’s decision on Abad brought to the fore once again the great divide in Aquino’s political family. * READ MORE...

ALSO Malaya Opinion: CONGRESSIONAL PROBES 

If congressional probes have resulted in the filing of charges, suspension or dismissal from office or any form of punishment of those investigated, the lawmakers should give their investigative powers more teeth although as it is they have more than they could use. By and large, congressional inquiries produce nothing. They shame people. The truth they say they ferret out does not necessarily bind the courts. Yet, Congress conducts investigations of cases that are already in court. The most infamous one is the probe of the pork barrel scam. Benhur Luy, the whistle-blower, was asked to repeat what he has already denounced and presumably will submit to the Sandiganbayan to support his charges. In this sense, the inquiries were repetitions of what has been said many times before. Lawmakers are a fierce lot of people on the floor of Congress. They mince no words in making accusations, false or otherwise. I can remember one case when the Senate sent Jean Arnault, a Frenchman who refused to talk about the scandal that attended the Tambobong Buenavista Estate in the time of President Quirino. There was public suspicion that the President’s brother — was it Eliseo or Antonio? — was behind the supposed scam. The President’s brother was not even charged. Not because Arnault refused to talk. It was because the Senate went fishing and came home without even a bite.

Lawmakers are emboldened to embarrass people, shame them, ridicule them, in the floor of Congress because they have parliamentary immunity. They hurl the most libelous statements. They cannot be held accountable. Many of the lawmakers have been challenged to repeat their charges outside the hall of immunity. They refused. The refusal is admission that they know they do not speak the truth. The House of Representatives wants to investigate Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Serreno on how she used the Judicial Development Fund. She refused. She would not place her Court in public doubt over the use of the JDF which, in reality is not taxpayers’ money in the sense that it does not come from the national appropriations. They are fees collected by the courts from litigants and pooled as a huge fund for, among other things, the construction of “halls of justice.” The proper use or misuse of the JDF is the sole responsibility of the Chief Justice. The Chief Justice has been accused by two members of the House of using the JDF to buy guns. Guns for whom:? If they were bought for their personal bodyguards, the expense does not violate the purpose of the JDP. * READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

Ombudsman prober: Dead people, toddler listed as beneficiaries of Jinggoy’s ‘pork’ projects


Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who is facing graft and plunder charges in connection with the alleged pork barrel scam, arrives at Sandiganbayan in Quezon City on Tuesday, August 5, for his bail hearing. Plunder is a non-bailable offense if backed by strong evidence. GMA News

MANILA, AUGUST 11, 2014 (GMA NEWS NETWORK) POSTED AUGUST 6, By AMITA O. LEGASPI - Jinggoy at Sandigan bail hearing Jinggoy at Sandigan bail hearing. Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who is facing graft and plunder charges in connection with the alleged pork barrel scam, arrives at Sandiganbayan in Quezon City on Tuesday, August 5, for his bail hearing. Plunder is a non-bailable offense if backed by strong evidence. GMA News Aside from deceased people, even a toddler was listed among the beneficiaries of supposed projects funded by the pork barrel allocations of Senator Jinggoy Estrada, an Ombudsman field investigator testified Tuesday.

Lawyer Vic Escalante told the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division during Estrada's bail hearing that none of the local officials and listed beneficiaries in the provinces they went to said they benefitted from a project funded by Estrada's pork barrel or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

"All the beneficiaries denied receiving the kits funded by the PDAF of Estrada. Some of them disclosed that their relatives or spouses who were also included in the list were already dead," he said.

"A father of one of the listed beneficiaries said his son is only one year old and seven months," Escalante added.

* Escalante said they conducted their field interview and verification from June to July 2013.

"We visited the provinces and barangays to verify if the projects were really implemented and if the persons on the list were actual residents there," he said.

He said some of the areas they went to were Umingan, Pangasinan; Mabitac, Laguna; Agusan del Norte; Surigao del Sur; Carascal; San Agustin; Prosperidad; San Luis; Esperanza; and Zamboanga.

He said most if not all of the municipal or city mayors and agriculturists they asked had denied implementing projects funded by Estrada's PDAF.

"They denied implementing projects, they also denied their signatures in the acknowledgment receipt and delivery report,"Escalante said.

The projects supposedly implemented were livelihood program with distribution of manicure/pedicure kits and distribution of farm kits. —KBK, GMA News

FROM THE INQUIRER

Jinggoy says, All hearsay: Infant got Estrada pork; Other recipients are the dead with ghost projects By Marlon Ramos |Philippine Daily Inquirer2:55 am | Wednesday, August 6th, 2014


Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, right, waits for the start of the hearing on his petition for bail at the antigraft court Sandiganbayan in Quezon City on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. An antigraft investigator told the Sandiganbayan on Tuesday that a 19-month-old infant and several dead persons were among the “farmers” who purportedly received farm inputs purchased out of the Estrada’s pork barrel allocation. POOL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–A 19-month-old infant and several dead persons were among the “farmers” who purportedly received farm inputs purchased out of the pork barrel allocation of detained Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, an antigraft investigator told the Sandiganbayan on Tuesday.

At the continuation of his testimony, lawyer Vic Escalante Jr. said he and other field investigators of the Office of the Ombudsman had discovered irregularities in the implementation of the projects financed by Estrada’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Citing the affidavits of witnesses, Escalante said Estrada pocketed over P50 million in kickbacks from at least 10 livelihood projects in the provinces of Laguna, Pangasinan, Compostela Valley, Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur. The projects were allegedly carried out by nongovernment organizations (NGOs) created by Janet Lim-Napoles, the purported brains of the P10-billion PDAF scam.

“We went to the (villages) to check if those on the list of beneficiaries were actual residents. Many, if not all, were not residents of the villages where the projects were implemented,” Escalante told the antigraft court’s Fifth Division at the hearing on Estrada’s petition for bail.

“All of them denied receiving livelihood packages and kits. One of those who executed an affidavit said her spouse was already dead before the project implementation,” he continued. “One father said one of the beneficiaries was his child who was only 1 year and 7 months old.”

He said even the mayors and municipal agriculturists denied signing the delivery reports and acknowledgment receipts for the supposed Estrada-sponsored projects, bolstering the allegations of whistle-blowers that there were ghost deliveries.

Testimony hearsay

Unperturbed, Estrada and his lawyers dismissed Escalante’s testimony as mere hearsay, pointing out that the investigator admitted in court that he had no personal knowledge if the senator himself received kickbacks from the projects.

Estrada challenged government prosecutors to present their main witnesses against him, principal whistle-blowers Benhur Luy and Ruby Tuason, to speed up the proceedings.

“He does not have any knowledge that Luy delivered money to me or any person for that matter. I’m pretty confident that I will be granted bail,” he told reporters after the three-hour court proceeding.

Estrada, who allegedly pocketed P183 million in commissions, accused the prosecution of delaying the bail hearing, noting that the testimonies of the witnesses that the prosecution was set to present in the weekly hearing had “no probative value.”

“I hope the prosecution will present their strong witnesses, Benhur Luy and Ruby Tuason, for the court to determine if I will be (allowed to post) bail or not,” he said.

Asked why he wanted Luy and Tuason to take the witness stand, Estrada told the Inquirer: “The other prosecution witnesses will not have anything to say. By presenting Luy and Tuason, at least it could expedite the hearing.”

“The time in jail is time wasted. It’s been too long already,” he said of his detention.

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada also believed that Escalante’s testimony was weak. “It’s all hearsay. So there’s no damage at all,” the former President told reporters.

Letters of endorsement

In his direct examination handled by acting Deputy Special Prosecutor Manuel Soriano Jr., Escalante revealed that Estrada had endorsed numerous projects that were coursed through National Livelihood Development Corp. and National Agribusiness Corp. through letters addressed to then Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap.

Soriano asked Escalante to identify which documents he used to conclude that Estrada benefited from the projects. But Sabino Acut Jr., one of Estrada’s lawyers, objected, pointing out that the best evidence was the document itself.

In addition to the sworn affidavits of Luy and other whistle-blowers, Escalante said copies of the tripartite memorandums of agreement between Estrada’s office, the implementing government agencies and the Napoles-linked NGOs showed that the senator’s pork barrel funds went to spurious projects.

Fictitious beneficiaries

He said he and the other investigators also interviewed mayors and other concerned local officials who revealed that the individuals on the list of beneficiaries of Estrada’s PDAF were fictitious.

“In their sworn affidavits, Benhur Luy and other witnesses admitted that they forged the signatories (on the documents) and even the names on the list of beneficiaries,” he said.

In his cross-examination, Acut asked Escalante if he had personal knowledge about the processing of the special allotment release orders, notices of cash allocation and other documents pertaining to the supposed funneling of PDAF allocations to Napoles’ NGOs.

Escalante replied, “None, sir.”

Comic relief in plunder case By Marlon Ramos |Philippine Daily Inquirer2:53 am | Wednesday, August 6th, 2014


JINGGOY AT BAIL HEARING

MANILA, Philippines–It wasn’t all courtroom drama.

Several amusing exchanges among the defense lawyers, public prosecutors and justices of the Sandiganbayan have made the bail hearing of legislators and private individuals facing plunder and graft charges in connection with the P10-billion pork barrel racket more interesting.


Atty. Stephen David. INQUIRER.net/NOY MORCOSO

On Tuesday, lawyer Stephen David provided such comic relief for those attending the hearing of the bail petition of Sen. Jinggoy Estrada when he suddenly asked for a restroom break in the heat of his grilling of prosecution witness Vic Escalante Jr.

‘Natural right’

Escalante, a field investigator of the Office of the Ombudsman, returned to the witness stand to testify about Estrada’s supposed role in coursing millions of pesos in public funds to the nongovernment organizations (NGOs) established by David’s client, suspected pork barrel scam architect Janet Lim-Napoles.

“While the witness is looking at the documents, may I ask the court if I could …” David’s voice trailed off.

“Go ahead. It’s your natural right,” Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo replied, sensing David wanted to relieve himself and drawing laughter from the audience.

“You may join (David) if you want,” Associate Justice Roland Jurado, chair of the Fifth Division, told the defense panel as he ordered a five-minute break.

Taking his turn to cross-examine Escalante after questioning by Estrada’s lawyer Sabino Acut Jr., David asked the antigraft investigator if he saw the name of Napoles in the various documents regarding the supposed release of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocation of Estrada to Napoles-linked NGOs.

He also quizzed the witness whose names appeared in the documents, including the list of officials and board of trustees of the NGOs.

* When Escalante replied that the names of primary whistle-blower Benhur Luy, his parents Gertrudes and Arthur Luy, and friend Al Jerome Benito were on the list, an emphatic David asked him: “Why didn’t you file a case against Al Jerome Benito?”

‘Gospel truth’

“Because he was Luy’s friend. Luy said he just included the name of Al Jerome Benito without his knowledge,” he replied.
“And you believe whatever Benhur Luy said? You took whatever he said as gospel truth?” David retorted.

Standing his ground, Escalante said the Ombudsman validated what Luy and the other witnesses mentioned in his sworn affidavits.

David also scoffed at the witness for his supposed failure to remind the individuals tagged in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam that their testimonies might be used against them “as enshrined in the Constitution.”

“You’re a good lawyer and a good field investigator. You should know that,” Napoles’ counsel said as if taunting Escalante.

But Associate Justice Gesmundo restrained David’s manner of handling the cross-examination and ordered the lawyer to ask questions and not to give his opinion.

‘Stop lecturing’

“Stop lecturing him about the Miranda rights. If you want, you can just file a case against him,” the magistrate told David.

Earlier in the proceeding, Assistant Deputy State Prosecutor Manuel Soriano Jr. sought the court’s intervention when two of Estrada’s defense lawyers, Acut and Jose Flaminiano, were raising objections at the same time.

Appearing like a schoolboy being bullied by his classmates, Soriano said it was a violation of the court’s rules.

Looking amused, Gesmundo told Soriano that an accused was allowed to have two or more lawyers as long as there is only one lead counsel.

When Soriano’s fellow public prosecutor stood up to raise a point moments later, the justice jokingly said: “That’s a violation. Nakita niyo na! (You see!)”

FROM ABS-CBN NEWS

Erap: Jinggoy careless but innocent in PDAF scam By David Dizon, ABS-CBNnews.com Posted at 06/19/2014 11:07 AM | Updated as of 06/20/2014 4:50 PM

MANILA - Former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada believes his son, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, was careless about his pork barrel funds but is innocent of the crime of stealing public funds.

Speaking to ANC's Headstart, Estrada said his son has no intention of misusing his priority development assistance funds (PDAF).

He pointed out that during his time as senator, he usually let his secretary handle his pork barrel allocations as long as the applications are in order.

"Maybe he was just careless. He doesn't have that intention to take advantage of his PDAF," he said.

Instead, the former president placed the blame on the scam solely on the budget department and implementing agencies, saying they are the ones who check if a non-government organization is legitimate or not.

"They do not tell me where the pork barrel is going. You just apply. I would say because the implementation of that will go to the implementing agencies and then before the release, the DBM will examine. They are the ones who should see to it where the money is going," he said.

"They are the ones handling the money. That is their duty, not the senator," he added.

Estrada said the scam could actually be a set up cooked up by the Department of Justice with the whistle-blowers.

"Well, this can be a set-up. Even the DOJ can talk to this people and say, blame these senators. Name them, name them," he aid.

During the interview, the former president also castigated his former social secretary, Ruby Tuason, for implicating Jinggoy in the scam.

* Tuason earlier told the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee that she personally delivered pork barrel kickbacks from Janet Lim Napoles to Estrada's office in the Senate.

The senator confirmed that Tuason visited him in the Senate but only to deliver food and not money.

The former president said Tuason is testifying against Jinggoy to save herself from prosecution.

"I know her from the start. She's a poor lady. She has nothing. Why does she live in Dasmarinas from nowhere? She just wants to save herself. That's why she did that. She was coached," he said.

Asked if he could be blind to his son's faults, he said: "My eyes are clear."

He also said an accused is always presumed innocent unless proven guilty. He said his son was already accused of plunder during the Arroyo administration but was acquitted by the anti-graft court.

The Office of the Ombudsman has filed plunder and graft charges against three senators - Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. - and other personalities tagged in the pork barrel scam.

According to the case filed before the Sandiganbayan, Senator Jinggoy Estrada is accused of plundering P183.79 million in PDAF with the help of Pauline Labayen, John Raymund de Asis and Mrs. Napoles.

In the interview, Estrada also opposed the creation of special courts to try the pork scam cases. He said all the accused will face conviction if special courts are created.

"Historically, even in Japan all these special courts are created to convict," he said.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Bong Revilla got P9M ‘rebate’, Benhur Luy tells Sandigan
By Julliane Love De Jesus |INQUIRER.net2:04 pm | Thursday, August 7th, 2014


Senator Bong Revilla. INQUIRER PHOTO/LYN RILLON

MANILA, Philippines—Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. got a P9 million “rebate” or kickback from a multimillion-peso transaction by detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles with one of the government-owned and -controlled corporations that channeled lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel to bogus non-government organizations, a witness told the Sandiganbayan Thursday.

During a hearing for Revilla’s bail petition, Benhur Luy, a former employee of Napoles, said lawyer Richard Cambe, Revilla’s staff, would regularly go to Napoles’ office to claim the senator’s alleged commission from the P40 million deal with the National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor), which channeled the lawmaker’s pork barrel to ghost livelihood projects from 2006 to 2010.

In the previous bail hearing‎, Luy said that the now detained senator allegedly received 50 percent of the total cost from Napoles’ livelihood projects.

“Paulit-ulit ang punta ni Cambe para kunin ang commission ni Senator Revilla [Cambe would repeatedly go to get Senator Revilla’s commission],” Luy, who was wearing a bullet proof vest, told the court.

* He said Cambe would deliver the documents, including the project’s endorsement letter, notice of cash allocation of Revilla’s PDAF, special allotment release order (Saro) and copies of memorandum of agreement.

But Lawyer Stephen David‎, counsel of Napoles, questioned why Luy, being the president of the fake NGO Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation Inc., allowed Napoles to transact with Nabcor without the Special Power of Attorney.

A special power of attorney is used when a person assigns someone to act in his behalf in specific situations.
“I did not know that. Madam (Napoles) is my boss and I only follow her instructions,” he said.

FROM MALAYA

DINKY AND COMPANY RESCUED ABAD WHEN AQUINO SISTERS WANTED HIM OUT By Ellen Tordesillas | August 08, 2014


AQUINO SISTERS WITH THE BINAYS

FROM our always reliable source: A few days after the Supreme Court declared the parts of the Disbursement Accelerated Program unconstitutional last July 1, three presidential sisters, Ballsy Cruz, Pinky Abellada, and Kris Aquino (Viel Dee didn’t join them) talked with the President to let go of Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad.

As we all know by now, DAP, the issue that has shaken the otherwise Teflon presidency of Benigno Aquino III, was the brainchild of Abad. He revised the 2011, 2012, and 1023 General Appropriations Acts passed by Congress after
tedious deliberations and signed by the President for programs, projects, and activities Malacañang deemed more to their liking.

The Supreme Court’s vote was unanimous (13-0) stunning Malacañang who had thought it would be 7-6 in their favor.

At that time, Aquino had not issued any statement yet. Word from Malacañang insiders said he went ballistic as shown later by his speeches waging war on the High Court.

The source said Aquino appeared convinced by the sisters.

Abad’s comrades in the cabinet were alarmed and they took action.

Social Services Secretary Dinky Soliman, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Teresita Quintos Deles, presidential adviser on the Peace Process, and Mely Nicolas, chairperson of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (the core group of the 2005 Hyatt 10) went to Aquino and appealed for Abad’s retention.

But it was a loaded appeal because they said that if the President let go of Abad, they will all resign.

The President’s decision was made known on July 11, during the cabinet meeting on the 2015 budget. “To accept his resignation is to assign to him a wrong. And I can’t accept the notion that doing right by our people is a wrong,” he said to the applause of members of his cabinet except Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is part of the cabinet as chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.

The next day, July 12, Abad released a statement disclosing that he tendered his resignation July 10. On the President’s rejection of his resignation, Abad said: “Although I was wholly prepared to relinquish my post, I am grateful for the
President’s expression of his continuing trust and confidence in my leadership of the Department. I have thus chosen to defer to his better judgment and stay.”

The presidential sisters attempt to influence the President’s decision on Abad brought to the fore once again the great divide in Aquino’s political family.

* It is known that the Aquino sisters are lukewarm to the Mar Roxas faction, to which Abad belongs. In the 2010 elections, the sisters were with the Noy-Bi (Aquino-Binay) faction.

That’s why it’s not surprising that Kris Aquino likes the idea of his brother endorsing Binay in the 2016 presidential election to the horror of Liberal Party stalwarts, who, up to now, pin their hopes on Roxas.

That was another masterstroke that Binay pulled off last Monday when he said he had received information that the ruling Liberal Party was considering adopting him as its standard bearer in the 2016 elections. The other masterstroke of Binay was infiltrating the Liberal Party campaign in 2010. In the same building where LP had their headquarters, there was a room distributing Noy-Bi campaign materials.

Senate President Franklin Drilon, LP vice- chairman vehemently denied Binay’s claim. LP issued a statement underscoring that the party is against “corruption, patronage and self-serving ambition.” The unwritten message was Binay is the epitome of what the LP is fighting against.

But Kris Aquino said she and her sisters are open to Binay succeeding her brother: “Kami ng mga sister ko naman pinag-uusapan namin yan. Sinasabi namin puwede naman talagang magkaroon ng unity at puwedeng kung ano kasi hindi naman kami magkaaway. At kung ipagpapatuloy naman niya lahat ng nasimulan ni Noy, why not?,” she said in her TV show.

In a separate TV interview, she said: “I don’t make a secret of the fact that one of my closest friends is his (Binay’s) daughter Anne, and we pray together.”

Her eldest sister, Ballsy added: “You know, he never said anything bad about my family at pati na rin sa ibang partido, kaya ako ay natutuwa na ganoon ang pakiramdam niya. Kung yun din naman ang kanyang hangarin, na maipagpatuloy ang mga nasimulan ni Noy , e di magaling.

I think if Roxas decides to push through with his presidential bid despite low popularity ratings, Aquino will be compelled to endorse him but he will not prevent his sisters and relatives and members of his cabinet like Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa from supporting Binay.

Under the Binay presidency, Aquino will be amply protected. He will not suffer the fate of Joseph Estrada and Gloria Arroyo.

Aquino will have his cake and eat it too. Some people are damn lucky.

CONGRESSIONAL PROBES By Amado P. Macasaet | August 07, 2014


By Amado P. Macasaet

If congressional probes have resulted in the filing of charges, suspension or dismissal from office or any form of punishment of those investigated, the lawmakers should give their investigative powers more teeth although as it is they have more than they could use.

By and large, congressional inquiries produce nothing. They shame people. The truth they say they ferret out does not necessarily bind the courts. Yet, Congress conducts investigations of cases that are already in court. The most infamous one is the probe of the pork barrel scam.

Benhur Luy, the whistle-blower, was asked to repeat what he has already denounced and presumably will submit to the Sandiganbayan to support his charges. In this sense, the inquiries were repetitions of what has been said many times before.

Lawmakers are a fierce lot of people on the floor of Congress. They mince no words in making accusations, false or otherwise.

I can remember one case when the Senate sent Jean Arnault, a Frenchman who refused to talk about the scandal that attended the Tambobong Buenavista Estate in the time of President Quirino.

There was public suspicion that the President’s brother — was it Eliseo or Antonio? — was behind the supposed scam. The President’s brother was not even charged. Not because Arnault refused to talk. It was because the Senate went fishing and came home without even a bite.

Lawmakers are emboldened to embarrass people, shame them, ridicule them, in the floor of Congress because they have parliamentary immunity. They hurl the most libelous statements. They cannot be held accountable.

Many of the lawmakers have been challenged to repeat their charges outside the hall of immunity. They refused. The refusal is admission that they know they do not speak the truth.

The House of Representatives wants to investigate Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Serreno on how she used the Judicial Development Fund. She refused. She would not place her Court in public doubt over the use of the JDF which, in reality is not taxpayers’ money in the sense that it does not come from the national appropriations. They are fees collected by the courts from litigants and pooled as a huge fund for, among other things, the construction of “halls of justice.”

The proper use or misuse of the JDF is the sole responsibility of the Chief Justice.

The Chief Justice has been accused by two members of the House of using the JDF to buy guns. Guns for whom:? If they were bought for their personal bodyguards, the expense does not violate the purpose of the JDP.

" If the JDF was used for investments, that means the Court does not want to sit idly on a mountain of cash. However, there might be a necessity to find out where the investments were made.

In the sense that the funds of the DAP contributed by litigants in court cases, the JDP may be considered as a trust fund. It cannot be invested in speculative instruments. That is all that has to be asked of the Chief Justice, if she honors the invitation to attend the House hearing.

The fatal mistake of her investigation is the fact that Mrs. Sereno is practically forced to testify against herself. It would have been more proper for the House to do some sleuthing — probably through the National Bureau of Investigation — before the inquiry was even considered.

The investigators in the House, as in all cases, should have something to go by before anybody is asked to testify. The Chief Justice questions the timing and propriety of the House inquiry coming as it does after the Supreme Court ruled the pork barrel and the Disbursement Acceleration Program are unconstitutional.

Members of Congress directly benefited from pork barrel and the DAP. By its rulings the lawmakers were denied benefits since they ended up in their pockets.

There are no clear showings that the lawmakers used the money for the benefit of the people. There are no indications either that the Chief Justice misused the JDF.

In that sense the probe is a witch hunt.

Mrs. Sereno maintains there should be healthy relationship between the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court. Healthy relationship is leaving each other alone

But since the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of the Constitution and the laws it had to act on the complaints of alleged illegality in the use of the pork and the DA. Both were declared unconstitutional. The Court ruled unanimously in its best lights.

The probe subjects the Head Magistrate to indignities. In the event that she testifies and the House finds her guilty of misuse of the JDF, the investigating committee will conclude the probe with a written report. Almost always the report recommends sanctions, including recommendations including impeachment.

Has anybody been brought to court on the strength of findings of Congressional inquiries? I do not remember any.

Findings of guilt, theoretically speaking, will not allow the House or its committee to recommend charges against the Chief Justice. The only way to punish her is by impeachment.

The Court can penalize its peers. That is part of independence of the Supreme Court from any incursions by any agency in government. The fact that the associate justices, majority of whom were appointed by Gloria Arroyo, do not seem to notice the alleged wrong doing of their chief is proof she has not done wrong.

It is important to remember the fact that the Chief Justice does not enjoy the cooperation of her peers. They would subject her to the indignities of an internal investigation if they believe she is culpable.

Nothing of that sort has been done.

I will repeat, the probe is a witch hunt that will end nowhere. The members of the investigating committee will enjoy the “honor” of getting media mileage in the investigation.

That is all there is to it.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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