De Lima appears in Senate ‘pork’ probeBy Maila Ager
MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Thursday appeared in the Senate for the resumption of its investigation into the P10 billion “pork barrel” scam.
Also invited to the hearing by the blue ribbon committee were unnamed whistle-blowers although their lawyer, Levito Baligod, who was seen at the session hall of the Senate would not say if the whisteblowers would appear and testify.
“Tingnan po natin pero sana makarating,” Baligod said in an interview with reporters before the start of the hearing.
“If ever they will appear, they will not name names because I instructed them to limit their testimony on the scheme. Yung scheme lamang para matulungan ang Senado na mag-craft ng bill para hindi na maulit ang pang-aabuso,” he said.
“But for acts already done, we have to give this to the Department of Justice and the Office of the Ombudsman,” Baligod added.
Also invited to the hearing were former and incumbent heads of the National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor) and Zamboanga Rubber Estate Corporation (ZREC) – two of government-owned and controlled corporations that have been used as conduits by some legislators for pork barrel releases.
Allan Javellana and Rhodora Mendoza , former president and vice president for finance and administration of Nabcor, testified during last week’s hearing and identified Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce-Enrile and Senators Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. as among the legislators who had allegedly funnelled their priority development fund (PDAF ) or pork barrel funds to at least three NGOs of Napoles.
Former ZREC president Salvador Salacup also took the witness stand and confirmed that the three senators had also funnelled their PDAF to Pangkabuhayan Foundation Inc but clarified that the foundation was not among those reportedly linked to Napoles.
Javellana and Salacup were directed last week by the committee to return and identify all other legislators who had coursed through them their pork barrel funds.