MANILA - Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chair TG Guingona has presented his draft committee report that recommends that plunder charges be filed against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Bong Revilla, Janet Lim-Napoles, and other personalities allegedly part of the pork barrel scam.
In announcing the completion of the committee report, Guingona said it was proven that certain public officials, private individuals, and NGOs conspired to steal public funds and obtain kickbacks from pork barrel allocations.
The report will still be submitted to committee members for their approval.
Also recommended to be charged with plunder were Enrile’s chief of staff Gigi Reyes, Estrada’s former appointments secretary Pauleen Labayen, Revilla’s staff member Richard Cambe.
Aside from plunder, they are also being recommended to face the following charges:
- · direct bribery
- · violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act
- · frauds against the public treasury
- · violation of code of conduct and ethical standards for public officials and employees
The report gave credence to the testimony of whistleblowers Benhur Luy and Merlina Suñas that the senators and their agents "did business with Napoles and received kickbacks" of varying amounts "for allowing her to access" their respective PDAF allocations.
Guingona is also recommending that former NABCOR president Allan Javellana, former Technology and Resource Center director general Antonio Ortiz be charged with plunder, direct bribery, violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, frauds against the public treasury, violation of code of conduct and ethical standards for public officials and employees, and violation of the government procurement reform act.
Guingona said in his report said that Javellana and Ortiz and other officials of their respective agencies connived with legislators for “government funds to be released to bogus NGOs through contracts or transactions that manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government.”
Guingona is proposing that Napoles to be held liable for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, corruption of public officers, frauds against pubic treasury, and giving false testimony before the blue ribbon committee hearing.
Napoles was described in the report as “co-conspirator for the crime of Plunder because of her vital role as the ‘mastermind’ of the entire operation.”
“All in all, Napoles and her group orchestrated a scam that deprived the Filipino people of millions of pesos in public funds,” the report said.
REFERRED TO IBP/ SC FOR POSSIBLE DISBARMENT
The committee report also recommended that the Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges investigate the accused senators for possible disciplining, saying that “[a]llegations of plunder reflect deplorably on the dignity, integrity and reputation of the entire Senate, as an institution.”
Guingona is also proposing that the matter be referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and the Supreme Court for disbarment or disciplinary proceedings against lawyers involved in the case.
“The most prominent among them are Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, Jessica Reyes, and Richard Cambe. There are also others who served as notaries, business advisers and legal counsels to the accused,” the report said.
“In order to preserve its reputation and integrity, the legal profession must be free from those who use their knowledge and skills to perform or facilitate criminal activity.”
FOR FURTHER PROBE
Recommended to be investigated further for lack of enough information on their possible liability are Napoles’ relatives, employees and friends identified by the whistleblowers:
Jo Christine Napoles, Reynaldo “Jojo” Lim, Ronaldo Francisco Lim, Evelyn Ditchon De Leon, Nova Kaye Dulay, Jaime Garcia Napoles, James Christopher Lim, Jeane Catherine Lim Napoles, Jane Catherine Lim Napoles, John Christian Lim Napoles, Rosita Kawson Co, John Raymund de Asis, Felimon Agustin, Simplicio Gumafelix, Vanessa Eman, Jocelyn Piorato, Nemesio Pablo, Mylene Encarnacion, Genevieve Uy, John Raymund De Asis, Lilian Espanol, Jesus Castillo, Eulogio Rodriguez, Lorna Ramirez, Evelyn De Leon and Ronald John Lim, and “others that may be later identified.”
Also recommended to be investigated further is Jose Antonio Evangelista, identified as “one of Sen. Enrile’s agents and designated signatories for PDAF-related documents.”
For not being summoned to the committee hearings, former members of the House of Representatives being recommended for further investigation by the Ombudsman are: Rep. Rizalina Seachon-Lanete and her agent Jose Sumalpong, former Rep. Edgar Valdez, former Rep. Rodolfo Plaza, former Rep. Samuel Dangwa and former Rep. Constantino Jaraula.
Recommended for investigation for possible involvement are former ZREC head Salvador Salacup and other officials mentioned by Luy as having received kickbacks: Ofelia Agawin (ZREC), Gigi Buenaventura (NLDC) and Alexis Sevidal (NLDC).
Also recommended for further probe is former Metrobank manager, Winnie Villanueva, “a close friend of Mrs. Napoles and worked for the latter after the former’s retirement from the bank.”
Among policy measures being recommended is the real time-audit of NGOs receiving government funds and blacklisting of NGOs involved in any wrongdoing.
Among the laws being recommended to be passed are measures that would mandate the accreditation of NGOs dealing with government and a law that would mandate the Commission on Audit to audit NGOs handling government funds.