De Lima won’t name ‘porky’ lawmakers until list is validated
MANILA, Philippines — She was pressed to name the lawmakers involved in the alleged P10 billion pork barrel scam but Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Wednesday insisted on keeping mum until the authorities had a list of all the names of those involved in the anomaly.
“Sorry but we are still in the process of validating, doublechecking, and reviewing the list of names,” she told the panel of lawmakers during the budget deliberations in the House of Representatives.
Like House minority leader Ronaldo Zamora, Kabataan Representative Terry Ridon urged De Lima to reveal the names of the lawmakers involved in the almost decade-long abuse of the pork barrel.
“Why don’t you name them now,” pressed the neophyte lawmaker.
Zamora had earlier said that members of Congress were in a difficult situation as “everybody becomes a suspect” while they wait for De Lima to reveal the names of those involved in the case.
But it was “unfair” for a partial list to come out as they still had to identify who knowingly participated in the scam and who merely fell victim to bogus NGOs’ schemes, De Lima told Ridon.
“We have yet to identify all of the lawmakers and officials involved. We cannot name them if the list has not been completed–it would not be fair to name anyone while the list is incomplete,” she said.
“We will only announce the list when we are ready to file charges,” the Justice Secretary said.
What was clear at this point, she said, was the scheme by which bogus nongovernment organizations (NGOs) siphoned off lawmakers’ priority development assistance fund (PDAF) and the Malampaya fund.
“My challenge to the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) is to come up with a clear report on this–one that is written in plain, easily understandable language,” she said.
Once the list was complete, De Lima said that their report will be endorsed to the Ombudsman who will then act upon their recommendations.