Ombudsman assigns 45 staffers to pork scam probe
More News from Dona Z. Pazzibugan
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has assigned no less than 45 staffers to work on the pork barrel scam investigation, even as she refuses to be pressured by public calls to file charges immediately.
Morales said she has already put to work three 15-member teams “to speed up this case” while waiting for the National Bureau of Investigation to submit its fact-finding report on the case to her.
She said she has not been told of the Department of Justice’s plan to transmit to her office on Monday the NBI report on the case against alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
She said one team will analyze, another will validate and a third will write the recommendation.
“As much as we’d like to accelerate the proceedings, we cannot really determine (when to file the case). But we are trying because people expect results. You cannot file (a case) just to meet public expectations that it should be filed right away,” Morales told reporters yesterday at the inaugural Ombudsman-sponsored lecture featuring a former member of Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission.
“No, we don’t do that. There is such a thing as due process. We have to be very sure of what we are doing,” she said.
Morales said the principal whistle-blower Benhur Luy, Napoles’ cousin and former aide, has already been interviewed by the Ombudsman’s own fact-finding investigators. But she herself has not spoken with Luy, she said.
But the Ombudsman panel did not get to ask “clarificatory” questions of former NBI Director Nonnatus Rojas as he had resigned before the scheduled interview last week.
Morales said she did not watch Luy’s testimony before the Senate blue ribbon committee last Thursday as she was busy.
“I was so occupied [with] work. My attention was called by my staff but I just took a glance. I saw Luy was smiling, that’s all I saw,” she said.
The Office of the Ombudsman is conducting a parallel fact-finding investigation while waiting for the NBI to submit its findings and recommendation.
It is ultimately up to the Ombudsman to decide whether charges will be filed.
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