Napoles names Abad, Senators Drilon, Trillanes, De Lima in PDAF scam

MANILA — The alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles is set to file complaint against former Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad and Senators Franklin Drilon, Antonio Trillanes IV and Leila de Lima for their alleged involvement in the multi-billion peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

This was bared by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Monday where Napoles is now finalizing the complaint she would be filing through her lawyer Stephen David any time.

Aguirre said David had also talked to him about the statement being prepared by Napoles detailing the participation of Abad, Drilon, Trillanes and de Lima on the pork barrel scam.

”He (David) wanted to file the same in a few days possibly, or next week. So kami naman dito sa DOJ, maghihintay lang kami kung ano yung ipa-file. And then we will investigate, as a matter of fact, even the application na sinasabi nila for Janet Napoles to be put under the coverage of the Witness Protection Program, pwede namin aktuhan yan, even without any case being filed,” Aguirre told reporters during the press conference held in DOJ on Monday.

Aside from Abad and the three senators, Aguirre said David mentioned other personalities who may be included in the complaint but said he could not recall their names.

”Sa totoo lang, I’m not privy kung ano ang sasabihin ni Janet. Nandito lang kami sa DOJ to receive whatever complaints that will be filed before us. Hindi ko pa alam kung sino ang i-include nila. It’s the call of Janet kung sino sino, ang sabi niya dyan, he (David) doesn’t want to execute a statement na hindi personal knowledge niya,” Aguirre explained.

The DOJ chief said according to Napoles’ lawyer part of her affidavit is an allegation that there was a PHP10 million reward for the latter’s arrest and that it was allegedly claimed by one of the highest Cabinet official during the past administration.

“As a matter of fact, may sinasabi doon na meron daw PHP10 million for the arrest, or for any information leading to the arrest of Janet Lim Napoles and hindi malaman kung sino ang nag-claim nyan, if ever it was claimed,” he said.

As to what charges will be filed against the accused, Aguirre said that it would be plunder, which is a non-bailable offense.

When asked for other government officials’ names to be included in the complaint as a result of the reinvestigation, Aguirre answered: “Well let’s say that this is a new evaluation by the lawyer and by Janet Napoles, on who are involved in this PDAF scam.”

He noted that if the DOJ can find probable cause, then it will be forwarded to the Office of the Ombudsman, who has the primary jurisdiction of Napoles cases involving government officials.

“The MOA (memorandum of agreement) is that both the DOJ and the Ombudsman have concurrent jurisdictions. Because of that MOA, it could be filed with us, it could be filed with the Ombudsman. It is the call of the complainant where to file the case. In the event that it’s filed with us, then we, upon determination, are going to send our findings to the Ombudsman,” Aguirre said adding it’s the call of the complainant to file the case before to DOJ then forwarded to Ombudsman if found a probable cause.

Napoles ironically was also charged with the same offense for allegedly masterminding the scam in which pork barrel allocations from lawmakers were funneled into non-government organizations she set up to fund bogus or non-existent projects.

Aside from Napoles, also charged with the same offense were former senators Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile.

Enrile was allowed by the Supreme Court to post bail for his temporary liberty citing humanitarian reasons while Estrada and Revilla remain in detention at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame.

Early this month, the Court of Appeals acquitted Napoles in the illegal detention case filed by pork barrel scam whistleblower Benhur Luy before the Makati regional trial court.

But she remained in detention since she is still facing plunder, graft and malversation charges before the Sandiganbayan.

Aguirre then floated the idea of turning Napoles into a state witness in its reinvestigation of the pork barrel scam though he maintained that she will not be able to win her eventual freedom in exchange for new leads and testimony regarding the scam.

The DOJ chief also reiterated that the reinvestigation of the case was not aimed at setting Napoles free from prison and liability for her alleged involvement in the scam adding that it will not affect the cases currently pending before the anti-graft court.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Monday denied involvement in any irregularity involving government funds after their names were tagged into the list of lawmakers who received the highest amount of disbursement acceleration program (DAP) funds.

“I categorically deny any involvement in any irregularity regarding PDAF (priority development assistance fund), DAP or any government funds, for that matter,” Trillanes said in a statement.

For his part, Drilon also denied any involvement in the PDAF scam.

”I vehemently deny any insinuation by the Secretary of Justice that I was involved in any wrongdoing regarding the PDAF,” he said.

The DOJ is planning to conduct a probe on the previous administration’s misuse of the DAP simultaneous with the reinvestigation on the multi-billion-peso PDAF scam.

A news report showed that the DOJ would cover the amount given to senators to vote for the conviction of the late former Chief Justice Renato Corona during his impeachment trial in 2012.

The same report showed that Trillanes was among the senators who received the highest amount of DAP funds. Also tagged were Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and detained Sen. Leila de Lima.

“I was never even mentioned in any of the so-called Napoles lists provided during the height of the investigations in 2013,” Trillanes said, referring to alleged PDAF mastermind, businesswoman Janet Napoles.

Drilon said that he would await the copy of the affidavit and respond at the proper time and venue.

Earlier, Aguirre said the Duterte administration had no intention to seek revenge on anyone and merely wanted to obtain justice. Christopher Lloyd  Caliwan-Azer Parrocha/PNA-northboundasia.com