No evidence senators’ signatures were forged, says Ombudsman | Inquirer News

No evidence senators’ signatures were forged, says Ombudsman

MANILA, Philippines—There is no evidence to show that the signatures of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. and their designated representatives in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) documents were forged, according to the Office of the Ombudsman.

The authenticity of the signatures was among the basis for the findings of probable cause against the three senators in the plunder case involving the alleged siphoning of PDAF funds to ghost projects of Janet Lim-Napoles’ nongovernment organizations (NGOs). Napoles and six others were among those indicted.

ADVERTISEMENT

The joint resolutions prepared by a special Office of the Ombudsman panel and approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said that the three senators and their aides—Jessica Lucila Reyes, Jose Evangelista, Pauline Labayen and Richard Cambe—“failed to prove that their signatures that appeared in the PDAF documents are falsified.”

‘Vehement denial insufficient’

FEATURED STORIES

In their counter-affidavits, the senators and their senior staff said that the signatures appearing in letters of endorsement, memorandum of agreements (MOA), liquidation reports and other similar documents attributed to them were mere forgeries.

“Estrada’s denial, no matter how vehement, is insufficient to prove that his and Labayen’s signatures that appear in the PDAF documents are falsified,” the Ombudsman said.

The Ombudsman also said Revilla in his letter dated March 21, 2012, confirmed to the Commission on Audit (COA) that he authorized Cambe to sign letters, MOA and other PDAF documents on his behalf and the signatures appearing in the documents as belonging to him and Cambe are authentic.

The Ombudsman also noted that Revilla’s confirmation letter was made two years before the filing of the complaints.

Enrile, Reyes and Evangelista have likewise denied having signed PDAF documents and disclaimed any participation of and execution of these papers.

Handwriting experts

The Ombudsman said that Enrile had acknowledged that the signatures of Reyes and Evangelista that appeared in connection with PDAF documents in a letter to COA dated March 21, 2012, were genuine. It said Enrile had not disclaimed authorship of this letter and that he had authenticated the signatures of Reyes and Evangelista there.

ADVERTISEMENT

The respondents submitted a certification prepared by Rogelio Azores, a former employee of the National Bureau of Investigation Questioned Documents Division, stating that the signatures appearing in the PDAF documents did not belong to the accused.

Revilla also presented a letter prepared by Desiderio Pagui, described as a handwriting expert, who also claimed the signatures of the senator was forged.

The panel said investigators could not credit the findings of the supposed handwriting experts because they were based on photocopies of the PDAF documents, saying this procedure was unreliable.

The OMB concluded that Enrile received more than P172 million in kickbacks, Revilla P242 million and Estrada P183 million “under a modus operandi of a combination and series of overt criminal acts repeatedly taking place over a number of years.”

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: 3 senators, Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile, Ombudsman, pork barrel scam, Ramon Revilla Jr., signatures
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

News that matters



© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.