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Aguirre taps fraternity brod to probe Aquino’s DAP

/ 05:59 PM June 27, 2017
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Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II. MARIANNE BERMUDEZ/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has named one of his undersecretaries and fraternity brother to lead the investigation into the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) during the Aquino administration.

In an order issued Tuesday, Aguirre designated Justice Undersecretary Antonio Kho Jr. in charge of a new task force that will “reopen the investigation” into alleged anomalies in the DAP as well as in the use of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel of legislators.

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Kho, who is Aguirre’s fraternity brother in the San Beda College of Law fraternity Lex Talionis, was also tasked to prosecute the pork barrel cases filed by the DOJ during the previous administration.

Aguirre said he designated Kho as undersecretary-in-charge of the PDAF/DAP scam task force “for purposes of reopening the investigation by the Department of Justice of the anomalies in the Priority Development Assistance Fund and the Disbursement Acceleration Program, in view of the new evidences (sic) discovered and presented.”

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He gave Kho overall supervision and oversight over all stages of the investigation and other proceedings that may result, including those before the Office of the Ombudsman where some or all of the complaints may be filed, and those pending before the Sandiganbayan.

The new task force replaced the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) task force created by now detained Sen. Leila de Lima when she was justice secretary.

Under de Lima’s watch, the DOJ filed plunder complaints against former Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr., several lawmakers, government officials and employees before the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman filed the charges before Sandiganbayan in 2014, and has been trying the cases since then.

Last March, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales dismissed graft charges against former president Benigno Aquino III and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad over the DAP despite a Supreme Court ruling in 2014 that declared the DAP unconstitutional.

READ: Morales insists: No proof Aquino liable for DAP

The Ombudsman merely slapped Abad with a relatively minor criminal charge of encroaching on the powers of the legislative for issuing a budget circular that authorized the use of P72 billion in savings of certain government agencies to fund so-called priority government projects under DAP.

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READ: Abad indicted for usurpation of powers over DAP

Aguirre told reporters that Kho’s task force will meet with the lawyer of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles to receive any new affidavit and evidence she may submit.

“This time, we can assure the public that there will be no selective justice, unlike what happened in the previous administration,” he said.

Aguirre earlier claimed Napoles had implicated other senators and officials from the executive department in the P10 billion pork barrel scam. JPV

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TAGS: Antonio Kho, DAP, DoJ, PDAF, Vitaliano Aguirre
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