Citizens group files plunder raps, jumps gun on DOJBy Dona Z. Pazzibugan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—An anticrime crusader group has jumped the gun on state investigators, filing a complaint in the Ombudsman on Friday against alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, five senators and 23 representatives linked to the alleged theft of at least P10 billion of the congressional pork barrel.
The Citizens’ Crime Watch (CCW) based its graft and plunder complaint on news reports, mainly those that appeared in the Inquirer, about the Commission on Audit’s special audit of pork barrel fund releases from 2007 to 2009 and the allegations of a group of whistle-blowers who were former employees of Napoles.
In a series of reports in the Inquirer, Napoles’ former aides described how over a period of 10 years, billions of pesos from the congressional pork barrel, officially called the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), were channeled to fake projects run by bogus nongovernment organizations (NGOs) controlled by Napoles.
Based on these media reports, the CCW filed a complaint for graft and plunder against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Gregorio Honasan and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Also named in the complaint were former House of Representative members: Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon, a former Muntinlupa congressman, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director General Joel Villanueva, who formerly represented the Cibac party-list group in the House.
The other representatives included in the complaint were Rizalina Seachon-Lanete, Conrado Estrella III, Edgar Valdez, Rodolfo Plaza, Erwin Chiongbian, Samuel Dangwa, Robert Raymund Estrella, Manuel Ortega, Constantino Jaraula.
Marc Douglas Cagas IV, Arthur Pingoy Jr., Federico Sandoval II, Victor Francisco Ortega, Arrel Olaño, Salacnib Baterina, Rodolfo Valencia, Antonio Serapio, Isidro Real Jr., Rufus Rodriguez, Ernesto Nieva and Amado Bagatsing.
“We have all the right to file this. We are filing this as private citizens. We’re complaining on behalf of the citizens,” said lawyer Jose Villegas Jr., founder and chair of the CCW who used to host the television show “Police Hour.”
The CCW is one of the civil society organizations that recently succeeded in getting the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping the release of what is left of the lawmakers’ PDAF for 2013.