WHAT WENT BEFORE: Mario Relampagos case
In November 2013, Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos and three of his staff, Marilou Dialino Bare, Rosario Salamida Nuñez and Lalaine Narag Paule, were included in the list of lawmakers and individuals under investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam.
Relampagos and his three staff were named by Benhur Luy and Merlina Suñas, former employees of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, in their sworn affidavits as Napoles’ contact persons.
Napoles is accused of masterminding the pork barrel scam that her group allegedly pulled off over 10 years, using a network of bogus nongovernment organizations.
The scam involved the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), a pork barrel, of a number of senators and members of the House of Representatives. A senator was given an allocation of P200 million from the PDAF yearly, while a member of the House got P70 million for their pet projects.
Lawmakers who took part in the syndicate allegedly received up to 60 percent of their pork in the form of commissions from foundations formed by Napoles.
In a resolution promulgated on Aug. 28, 2014, the Sandiganbayan’s First Division dismissed eight graft charges—four of which were related to facilitating the release of pork barrel to supposed projects of then Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr.—against Relampagos and his staff after finding no probable cause to have them stand trial.
In February 2015, the Supreme Court, in an en banc ruling, denied Relampagos’ petition for a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction against the Sandiganbayan Third Division’s proceedings against him on the pork barrel scam.
In March 2015, the Sandiganbayan ordered the suspension for 90 days of Relampagos and nine other budget officials and state corporation executives, who have been charged with multiple counts of graft in connection with the pork barrel scam.
In May 2015, the antigraft court’s First Division ordered the dismissal of the two cases for malversation of public funds and direct bribery against Relampagos and his staff for lack of probable cause on the alleged misuse of P20.8 million of the pork barrel of former Cagayan de Oro Rep. Constantino Jaraula. The four had also been ordered suspended from office. —INQUIRER RESEARCH
Source: Inquirer Archives
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