Napoles, 37 others face plunder, graft rapsBy Kristine Angeli Sabillo, Matikas Santos
MANILA, Philippines – Plunder charges were filed before the Ombudsman Monday against Janet Lim-Napoles, alleged mastermind of the P10-billion pork barrel scam, Senate minority leader Juan Ponce Enrile, Senators Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. and two former representatives.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Monday said at a news conference at the Ombudsman office that in total 38 were facing charges over alleged conspiracy to divert P10-billion to dummy aid organizations and ghost projects in exchange for kickbacks.
De Lima said the five lawmakers allegedly committed plunder in conspiracy with Napoles and other officials of the implementing agencies when each accumulated more than the P50 million plunder threshold through a series of transactions over time through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, and malversation of the cash value of the project cost allocated from their PDAF and through their acceptance of kickbacks or commissions.
They were Revilla, P224,512,500; Enrile, P172,834,500; Estrada, P183,793,759; former Masbate 3rd district Rep. Rizalina Seachon-Lanete, P108,405,000; and former Apec Rep. Edgar Valdez, P56,087,500.
Three former representatives were also facing charges for involvement in malversation, direct bribery and other graft and corrupt practices. They are:
- Rodolfo Plaza of one district of Agusan del Sur
- Samuel Dangwa of the lone district of Benguet
- Constantino Jaraula of Cagayan de Oro
Mentioned last was Janet Lim-Napoles as co-conspirator of the accused lawmakers.
“As co-conspirator in the case of the five lawmakers being charged of plunder and 3 other lawmakers charged for malversation and corruption of public officials is Ms. Janet Lim-Napoles, the owner of JLN Group of Companies and believed to be the mastermind of the PDAF (Priority Development and Assistance Fund) scam operations,” De Lima said.
The Justice Secretary said they also recommended the filing of plunder or malversation charges against staff of the mentioned lawmakers, officials of involved government corporations and officers of Napoles’ non-government organizations.
Others facing charges include:
Staff of lawmakers
- Atty. Jessica Lucila Reyes – Chief of staff (COS) of Sen. Enrile
- Richard Cambe – staff of Sen. Revilla
- Ruby Tuason – representative of Sen. Enrile and Sen. Estrada
- Pauline Labayen – staff of Sen. Estrada
- Jose Sumalpong – COS of former Rep. Lanete
- Jeanette dela Cruz – district staff of former Rep. Lanete
- Erwin Dangwa – COS of former Rep. Dangwa
- Carlos Lozada – staff of former Rep. Dangwa
(officers of government corporations)
- Alan Javellana – former president of the National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR)
- Gondelina Amata – president of the National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC)
- Antonio Ortiz – former director general of the Technology Resource Center (TRC)
- Dennis Cunanan – former deputy director general, now director general, of TRC
- Salvador Salacup – former president of ZNAC Rubber Estate Corporation (ZREC), now assistant secretary at the Department of Agriculture
- Jocelyn Piorato – head of Agricultura para sa Magbubukid Foundation Inc.
- Nemencio Pablo – head of Agri and Economic Program for Farmers Foundation Inc.
- Mylene Encarnacion – Countrywide Agri and Rural Economic Development Foundation Inc.
- John Raymond de Asis – Kaupdanan para sa Mangunguma Foundation Inc.
- Evelyn Deleon – Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc.
- Ronald John Lim – Ginintuang Alay sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc.
Also recommended to be charged with plunder of malversation were five employees of NABCOR, three from NLDC, and two from TRC:
- Victor Cacal
- Ma. Ninez Guanizo
- Julie Johnson
- Rhodora Mendoza
- Alexis Sevidal
- Sofia Cruz
- Chila Jalandoni
- Francisco Figura
- Marivic Jover
The P10 billion pork barrel scam was first exposed by Philippine Daily Inquirer in a series of articles alleging the misuse of lawmakers’ PDAF through Napoles’ bogus non-government organizations.
On August 16, the Commission on Audit released a special report on the PDAF which revealed questionable practices on the release of the discretionary funds to lawmakers and dubious NGOs.
According to de Lima, the bulk of the evidence included the affidavits of the whistleblowers, copies of transactions and documents from the Commission on Audit and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
She said the Department of Justice hopes to further solidify these cases with the findings of the Anti-Money Laundering Council on the frozen bank accounts of Napoles as ordered by the Court of Appeals, courtesy of the “coercive” powers of the Ombudsman.
In the complaints, De Lima said the modus operandi was for lawmaker to get from Napoles 40 to 60 percent of the cash value of the project as kickback in exchange for selecting the NGO identified with her as recipient of his/her Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
She said the lawmaker first submits a list of properties
De Lima said in filing the cases, the NBI focused mainly on the criminal charges and that it was up to anyone to file other charges against the accused.
She said the NBI will also file next week the charges in connection with the misuse and abuse of the Malampaya Fund and the second batch of cases involving PDAF in two weeks. With a report from Cynthia Balana