Ombudsman files plunder raps vs Napoles, Enrile, Estrada, Revilla
MANILA, Philippines—The Office of the Ombudsman has formally filed plunder charges against the officials tagged in the pork barrel scam.
The Ombudsman on Friday afternoon filed before the Sandiganbayan the charges against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada for their alleged involvement in the multibillion-peso racket of diverting public funds to ghost projects for kickbacks.
This after the anti-corruption agency found probable cause to charge the senators and other government officials in the scam.
Also charged is alleged mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, who is detained on charges of serious illegal detention.
Other pork barrel scam players are also implicated in the case. Enrile’s co-accused is Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, Estrada’s co-accused is Pauline Labayen, and Revilla’s co-accused is Richard Cambe. Co-accused for all three senators are Napoles and John Raymund De Asis. Co-accused for both Enrile and Revilla is Ronald John Lim.
Lim is Napoles’ nephew, while De Asis is her long-time employee.
According to Revilla’s case docketed SB-14-CRM-0240, Revilla with his former political adviser Cambe pocketed with Napoles, Lim and De Asis at least P224.51 million in Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF).
According to Estrada’s case docketed SB-14-CRM-0239, Estrada with his former deputy chief of staff Labayen connived with Napoles and De Asis in plundering P183.79 million in PDAF.
According to Enrile’s case docketed as SB-14-CRM-0238, Enrile with his former chief of staff Reyes committed plunder in conspiracy with Napoles, Lim and De Asis. They were accused of pocketing P172.83 million in PDAF.
The Ombudsman said these officials and personalities “willfully, unlawfully, and criminally amass(ed), accumulate(d) and acquire(d) ill-gotten wealth.”
They were also alleged of “taking undue advantage… of their official positions, authority, relationships, connections and influence to unjustly enrich themselves at the expense and to the damage and prejudice of the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines.”
The pork barrel in the form of PDAF has been seen as a tool for political patronage and corruption.
The practice of allotting billions of public funds to lawmakers for them to ease poverty in their constituencies was struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional at the height of the investigation on the scam.
Note: Reposting to correct error. Graft charges have yet to be filed against the ‘pork’ scam players.
Originally posted: 3:54 pm | Friday, June 6th, 2014
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