Joel Villanueva not yet off the hook in pork scam - De Lima

Posted at 06/23/14 3:30 PM

MANILA - The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) continues its investigation into alleged evidence linking TESDA chief and Aquino ally Joel Villaueva to the pork barrel scam.

Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said this is in the wake of findings his signature was forged in crucial documents.

The Justice chief was, however, cautious when asked if Villanueva, reported to be included in the impending 3rd batch of graft cases in connection with the scam, was already cleared.

"Lahat ine-evaluate," De Lima said.

The Justice chief stressed that this was the reason why no prior announcements or confirmations were made as to who shall be charged prior to the actual filing of the complaints with the Sandiganbayan -- verifications have to be made, and evidence against the would-be respondents should be strong to stand legal scrutiny.

"Kaya maingat kami at kaya rin mabagal kami sa pag-file ng mga kaso," De Lima said.

She said forged signatures do not automatically exonerate a suspect.

"Depende sa klase ng dokumento kung saan na-forge ang signature," De Lima said.

Villanueva was included in the Commission on Audit (COA) special report as among several lawmakers who allocated their "pork barrel" into NGOs linked to so-called pork barrel scam queen Janet Lim Napoles.

VIllanueva's name is also on the list of lawmakers named by Napoles as among those who transacted with her. He is also on a list made by primary pork barrel scam whistleblower Benhur Luy.