Senate gets whistle-blowers’ affidavits
MANILA, Philippines—Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Friday submitted to the Senate blue ribbon committee the affidavits of more than 10 whistle-blowers in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam, implicating alleged mastermind Janet Napoles, several lawmakers, government officials as well as officers of several nongovernment organizations (NGOs).
Senators had asked De Lima for the documents during the public inquiry on the pork scam on Sept. 12.
“[We] respectfully transmit herewith a complete set of the affidavits of the whistle-blowers as incorporated in the two enclosed folders, in hard bound,” De Lima told Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, the chair of the blue ribbon committee, in the cover letter of her submission.
“These folders are among the many submitted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to the Office of the Ombudsman last Sept. 16, 2013,” De Lima added in her communication received at the Senate on Thursday.
Public to private
De Lima presented Luy before the Senate inquiry on Sept. 12. The whistle-blower testified on how Napoles, his former boss, conspired with legislators, government officials and NGOs to convert millions of pesos in Priority Development Assistance Funds “into private property.”
The lawmakers accused of plunder or malversation of public funds were: Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr.; and former House Representatives Rodolfo Plaza (Agusan del Sur), Rizalina Seachon-Lanete (Masbate), Edgar Valdez (Apec party-list), Samuel Dangwa (Benguet) and Constantino Jaraula (Cagayan de Oro).
The NBI also filed charges against Enrile’s former chief of staff Jessica Lucila Reyes, Estrada’s former staff Pauline Labayen, Revilla’s former staff lawyer Richard Cambe and Ruby Tuason, who supposedly represented both Enrile and Estrada.
Also facing raps are blue ribbon committee witnesses Alan Javellana and Rhodora Mendoza, former head and former finance officer respectively of the National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor); and Agriculture Assistant Secretary Salvador Salacup, the former head of the Zamboanga Rubber Estate Corp.
Employees charged, too
Also charged for involvement in the pork barrel scam are Gondelina Amata, president of the National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC); Antonio Ortiz, former director general of the Technology Resource Center (TRC); Jocelyn Piorato, president of the Agrikutura para sa Magbubukid Foundation Inc.;
Nemesio Pablo Jr., president of Agri and Economic Program for Farmers Foundation Inc.; Mylene Encarnacion, president of Countrywide Agri and Rural Economic and Development Foundation Inc.; John Raymund de Asis, president of Kaupdahan para Mangunguma Foundation Inc.; Evelyn de Leon, president of the Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc.;
Ronald John Lim, president of Ginintuang Alay sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc.; Dennis Cunanan, former deputy director general and present director general of TRC; Victor Roman Cacal, employee of Nabcor; Romulo Relevo, employee of Nabcor; Maria Ninez Guanizo, employee of Nabcor; Julie Villaralvo-Johnson, employee of Nabcor;
Gregoria Buenaventura, employee of NLDC; Alexis Sevidal, employee of NLDC; Sofia Cruz, employee of NLDC; Chita Jalandoni, employee of NLDC; Francisco Figura, employee of TRC; Marivic Jover, employee of TRC; Jose Sumalpong and Jeanette dela Cruz from the office of the third district of Masbate.
Some accused fled
Reported to have already left the country were: Plaza, Reyes, Tuason, Ortiz, Cunanan and Pablo.
Cunanan issued a statement yesterday saying he left on Friday to attend a meeting in the United States of the Junior Chamber International, where he is its incoming secretary general, but would return to answer allegations he was involved in the scam.