Solons in third pork barrel scam case deny raps
FORMER and incumbent lawmakers on Tuesday denied being involved in the alleged pork barrel scam after they were reportedly included in the third batch of malversation and graft charges to be filed before the Office of the Ombudsman.
This after a Philippine Daily Inquirer report bared the list of lawmakers who will be included in the third pork barrel scam complaint.
The lawmakers and former lawmakers are:
-Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II
-Former Cibac Rep. and now Technical Education Skills and Development Authority Secretary Joel Villanueva
-Cagayan De Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez
– La Union Rep. Victor Ortega his
-La Union Gov. Manuel Ortega
– Abono Rep. Conrado Estrella III
-Former Abono Rep. Robert Raymund Estrella
-Former Zamboanga del Sur Rep. Isidro Real,
-Manila Representative Amado Bagatsing
In a statement, Villanueva, a former representative of the Citizens Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) partylist, maintained that his signatures on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) documents allegedly coursed through Janet Lim-Napoles’ dummy foundations were forged.
“I am among those officials whose signature was forged in the fund release documents. No less than the National Bureau of Investigation made this finding after I voluntarily submitted my signature for examination,” Villanueva, reportedly running for senator under President Aquino’s Liberal Party, said.
“I have been judged and crucified in the public as if guilty, just because of unproven and fallacious links to the pork barrel scam. For two years, I have endured the unfair treatment as my name was dragged in the mud by critics of the administration. I maintain my innocence to the alleged graft and malversation case…,” he added.
In a text message, Bagatsing also maintained that his signatures were forged in what he deemed as fake endorsement letters.
“I was a victim of a syndicate… I don’t know Napoles nor does she know me…” said Bagatsing, who has filed perjury charges against Napoles though the latter has cleared the lawmaker from his alleged involvement in the scam.
Rodriguez refused to make a statement on Tuesday, especially as he was defending the proposed Bangsamoro basic law on the plenary during the interpellation period as chairman of the Bangsamoro ad hoc committee.
But in an earlier Radyo Inquirer 990AM interview, Rodriguez said his signatures were forged in his PDAF transactions in a Napoles foundation.
“We completely and absolutely deny that we are liable [in] this PDAF scam… I have no dealings with Napoles. I don’t know her and any of her employees… When I got the copy of the 18 documents from the Commission on Audit, I saw that the signatures were all fake,” he said.
The accused mastermind Napoles is serving life sentence for the serious illegal detention case filed against her by principal whistleblower Benhur Luy, her former entrusted finance officer who blew the lid off the alleged scheme of pilfering lawmakers’ PDAF to ghost projects for kickbacks.
The hearings over the pork barrel scam have resulted in the detention for plunder of Senators Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile, and Ramon Revilla Jr., as well as former representatives Rizalina Seachon Lanete and Edgar Valdez. AC
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