Legal proceedings for Napoles plunder case seen to last beyond Aquino termBy Matikas Santos
MANILA, Philippines – The case filed against all those involved in the billion peso pork barrel scam could last beyond the term of President Benigno Aquino III, the lawyer of the whistle blowers said Monday.
“Mahaba ito (this will take a long time)” Levito Baligod, counsel of the whistleblowers, told reporters in an ambush interview after the Department of Justice (DOJ) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed their complaint before the Ombudsman’s office.
“As a litigator I know that it will go beyond the term of President Aquino,” he said.
The DOJ recommended the filing of plunder cases against Janet Lim-Napoles, alleged mastermind of the scam, along with Senate minority leader Juan Ponce Enrile, senators Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada, former representatives Rizalina Seachon-Lanete of Masbate and Edgar Valdez of Apec partylist.
Former Agusan del Sur representative Rodolfo Plaza, former Benguet Representative Samuel Dangwa and former Cagayan de Oro representative Constantino Jaraula were also recommended to be charged for their involvement in malversation, direct bribery and other graft and corrupt practices
The complaint was 175,000 pages long, according to Baligod. Other persons included in the complaint were staff members of lawmakers as well as the heads of the non-government organizations (NGOs).
Napoles allegedly siphoned off some P10 billion from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), commonly known as pork barrel, of lawmakers through dummy NGOs.
“The next president will have a crucial role to see to it that justice is done,” Baligod said.
“Delikado kung Napoles-friendly, sigurado walang mangyayari dito sa kaso na na-file natin (it’s dangerous if [the next president] is Napoles-friendly, I’m sure nothing will happen to this case we have filed),” Baligod said.
DOJ secretary Leila De Lima said in a press conference that this was just the first batch of cases they filed. More charges will be filed when they have gathered the complete evidence against the others involved.