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Plunder raps filed vs Napoles, three senators in pork scam

September 16, 2013 3:42pm

(Updated 6:27 p.m.) The Office of the Ombudsman received on Monday plunder raps against trader Janet Lim-Napoles, three senators, and two former members of the House of Representatives who are alleged to have collected more than P50 million each in a P10-billion pork barrel scam.

Justice Sec. Leila de Lima personally appeared at the Ombudsman together with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), which investigated the supposed scam, and private complainant Atty. Levito Baligod to file the plunder charges against 38 people implicated in the case.
 
The accused senators are Ramon Revilla Jr. (P224.5 million in alleged kickbacks), Juan Ponce Enrile (P172.8 million) and Jinggoy Estrada (P183.79 million).

Revilla became emotional while Estrada was unfazed when reporters sought their reactions to the complaint. Meanwhile, Enrile was brought to the hospital for hypertension last Saturday and was absent in Monday's Senate session.

Napoles was charged for plunder, malversation, and corruption of public officials through the use of bogus NGOs that supposedly obtained government money from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of the lawmakers for ghost projects.

In the DOJ summary of the complaint, Napoles was described as the "mastermind of the PDAF scam operations."

Also included in the plunder complaint are incumbent Masbate Governor Rizalina Seachon-Lanete (P108.4 million), a former lawmaker, and former APEC party-list Rep. Edgar Valdez (P56.09 million).

Below P50 million

Meanwhile, three former congressmen were charged for malversation, direct bribery, and other graft and corrupt practices:
 
  •     former Rep. Rodolfo Plaza (P42.1 million)
  •     former Rep. Samuel Dangwa (P26.77 million)
  •     former Rep. Constantino Jaraula (P20.84 million)

The following staff members of the lawmakers are also facing charges:
 
  •     Atty. Jessica Reyes  - Enrile's former chief of staff
  •     Atty. Richard Cambe - Revilla's staff
  •     Ruby Tuason - representative of Enrile and Estrada
  •     Pauline Labayen - Estrada's staff
  •     Jose Sumalpong - chief of staff of Lanete
  •     Jeanette Dela Cruz - district staff of Lanete
  •     Erwin Dangwa - chief of staff of Dangwa
  •     Carlos Lozada - Dangwa's staff

40% to 60% in kickbacks

"A few minutes ago the NBI as a public complainant and Levito Baligod as private complainant filed the first batch of the PDAF complaints," de Lima told a press briefing immediately after the filing of charges.
 
De Lima entered the Office of the Ombudsman at 3:30 p.m. Monday with the documents. She was accompanied by Benhur Luy, the whistleblower in the scam, who arrived wearing a bullet-proof vest. They were met by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.

"The crimes of plunder, malversation, bribery and other graft and corrupt practices were thus committed when said lawmakers received from Napoles kickbacks amounting to 40 to 60 percent of the cash value of the project cost for every project endorsed by the lawmaker to a Napoles NGO," De Lima said in the DOJ's executive summary of the complaint.

"The lawmakers took advantage and abused their official position and authority as Senators and Congressmen of the Republic, thereby unjustly enriching themselves at the expense and to the damage and prejudice of the people and the Republic," she added.

These criminal acts were done "willfully, deliberately and maliciously," De Lima said.

"The chief-of-staff of the lawmker or his representative who facilitates documents and follow-ups with agencies for the lawmaker and Napoles also gets 1-5% of the project cost, also as kickback," according to the summary.

"Finally, Napoles gives 10% of the project cost to the head of the implementing agency, also as kickback," the report said.

"The rest is pocketed by Napoles after deducting the cost of overpriced supplies such as agricultural kits and training materials procured from a supplier enterprise which is owned by her, or the full remaining amount if there is no deliver at all," the report added.

Agency heads, Napoles-linked NGOs

Three incumbent officials are among those connected with government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) who are accused for either plunder or malversation, bribery and graft and corrupt practices:

  • Salvador Salacup - Department of Agriculture assistant secretary and former president, ZNAC Rubber Estate Corp. (ZREC)
  • Dennis Cunanan - Director General, Technology Resource Center (TRC, under DOST); former deputy director general of the same agency
  • Gondelina Amata - President, National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC, under DA)
  • Alan Javellana - former president, National Agribusiness Corp. (NABCOR)
  • Antonio Ortiz - former director general of TRC

Accused for plunder or malversation, bribery, or graft and corrupt practices by conspiracy are the following GOCC employees and agency officials:

  • Victor Cacal - NABCOR
  • Romulo Revelo - NABCOR
  • Ma. Ninez Guanizo - NABCOR
  • Julie Johnson - NABCOR
  • Rodhora Mendoza - NABCOR
  • Alexis Sevidal - NLDC
  • Sofia Cruz - NLDC
  • Chila Jalandoni - NLDC
  • Francisco Figura - TRC
  • Marivic Jover - TRC

Meanwhile, the following heads of Napoles-linked non-government organizations (NGOs) are also facing charges of plunder and malversation:

  • Jocelyn Piorato - Agricultura Para sa Magbubukid Foundation Inc.
  • Nemesio Pablo - Agri and Economic Program for Farmers Foundation Inc.
  • Mylene Encarnacion - Countrywide Agri and Rural Economic and Development Foundation Inc.
  • John Raymund De Asis - Kaupdanan Para sa Mangunguma Foundation Inc.
  • Evelyn Deleon - Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc.
  • Ronald John Lim - Ginintuang Alay sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc.

Palace reaction

Shortly after the filing of the complaint, Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang said the filing of charges "continues a process prescribed by the Constitution and is proof that our democratic system and our legal processes are working." 
 
In a statement, he said: "All the accused will be given their day in court under a fair and impartial trial."
 
Carandang said the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council (IAAGCC) will continue its investigation and will file more charges if there is evidence of further anomalies.
 
"We urge the public to diligently and soberly follow this process that will be pursued to its legal conclusion," he said.

'Pork' scam
 
The pork barrel scam was allegedly led by Napoles, who surrendered to President Benigno Aquino III after a court ordered her arrest over the serious illegal detention of her employee and main scam whistleblower Luy. 
 
Napoles was tagged as the mastermind in an elaborate scam that supposedly siphoned PDAF money to questionable NGOs for non-existent projects using pork funds, and splitting the funds with lawmakers. In a Senate hearing, Luy said the division of spoils reached 50-50 in some cases. 
 
Napoles is currently detained at Fort Santo Domingo in Laguna for the non-bailable detention case. — with Kimberly Jane Tan/KG/RSJ/KBK, GMA News




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