What Went Before: Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile
In June last year, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile was charged with plunder and graft in the Sandiganbayan in connection with his alleged diversion of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations to fake nongovernment organizations (NGOs) controlled by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
In filing the charges, the Ombudsman claimed that Enrile, as well as Senators Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada or their staff officers, “repeatedly received kickbacks or commissions before, during, and after project identification.”
Enrile was accused of amassing P172.834 million in “commissions” from 2003 to 2010 in collaboration with his former chief of staff, Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, Napoles and her driver-bodyguard John Raymund de Asis.
Enrile and Reyes were also charged with 15 counts of graft for allegedly mishandling pork barrel funds totaling P345 million.
Documents from the Commission on Audit (COA) that formed part of the evidence submitted by the National Bureau of Investigation showed that Enrile admitted that it was his signature that appeared in the documents, which authorized Reyes to conduct transactions involving his PDAF allocations.
In August last year, Assistant Audit Commissioner Susan Garcia said during a hearing on Napoles’ bail petition that Enrile wrote the COA in 2012 to confirm that he had authorized Reyes and her deputy as his representatives in business involving his pork barrel.
Affidavits submitted by the whistle-blowers and the COA report showed that Enrile allowed his pork barrel to be used by the Napoles NGOs on 21 occasions.
The COA report found that the NGOs received P332.7 million from Enrile’s office from 2007 to 2009. According to 2012 reports by the COA and the Department of Budget and Management, Enrile gave P10 million to a Napoles NGO in one town.
In February last year, Ruby Tuason, who confessed she arranged lavish parties for Napoles and later became her bagman, told the Senate blue ribbon committee that she had handed millions of pesos in kickbacks to Reyes in posh restaurants or at her home.
Tuason gave no indication that Reyes turned over the money to Enrile, leaving it to the senators to conclude that the money was intended for Enrile and that Reyes gave it to him.
Two former heads of state-owned National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor) also testified that Enrile, along with Estrada and Revilla, had coursed millions of pesos from their pork barrel allocations through dubious NGOs, including those controlled by Napoles.
Rhodora Mendoza, former Nabcor vice president, told the Senate committee in 2013 that Enrile, Estrada and Revilla had signed letters endorsing NGOs linked to Napoles.—Inquirer Research
Sources: Inquirer Archives
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