DOJ to review Aquino admin’s ‘fishy’ pork scam probe
Evidence against some politicians may have been suppressed by the previous administration in the investigation it conducted on the pork barrel scam, Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said on Monday.
He said there was something fishy in the manner the previous administration conducted the investigation, which is why they will again look into the case.
“What I know is that the DOJ then suppressed evidence against other politicians (involved in pork barrel scam),” he told reporters in an interview. He, however, refused to identify the politicians.
Critics and opposition members have been accusing the Aquino administration of selective justice, only pursuing cases against members of the opposition.
Aguirre said he would talk to Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged brains behind the Priority Development Assistant Fund scam to shed light on the matter.
“When Napoles first surfaced, she was brought to Malacañang and Mar (Roxas) accompanied her in Camp Crame. The question is why? They were obviously hiding something,” he said.
The DOJ chief said he would ask Napoles to divulge everything she knew about the multibillion-peso anomaly.
“Why did she cover up for others when she knew they were all guilty? She won’t be able to get away with it anyway – unless the President grants her pardon,” he said.
Aguirre said Napoles can be a witness but not necessarily a state witness. One of the requirements to become a state witness is that the accused must not be the most guilty.
“Anyway she will be in jail due to her conviction in another serious illegal detention case. The only benefit she could get is to just tell the truth,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said he will reopen the probe on the Napoles case.
“This is part of the President’s platform to rid the government of corruption,” Aguirre said.
Aguirre also assured that witnesses of the previous administration, including whistleblower Benhur Luy, would remain under the witness protection program of DOJ.
In 2014, in exchange for immunity from suit, Napoles identified senators as well as 69 other congressmen, some of whom were members of the Liberal Party, as among those who benefitted in the pork scam.
However, only Revilla, Estrada and Enrille have been charged with plunder by the Office of the Ombudsman before the Sandiganbayan./rga
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