By Perfecto T. Raymundo
MANILA, 1April2014 (PNA) — The Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) on Tuesday ordered the filing of plunder cases against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Janet Lim Napoles and several others in connection with the misuse of the three senators’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales approved the filing before the Sandiganbayan of the plunder complaint, and graft charges against the three senators and the other respondents.
In a press conference, Assistant Ombudsman Asyrman Rafanan said that the Ombudsman has recommended the filing of cases of plunder and violations of Republic Act No. 3019, or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act” against the respondents before the Sandiganbayan.
Plunder is a “non-bailable” offense.
The Ombudsman found probable cause on the case filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Sept. 16, 2013 in the case of plunder against the three senators, five former congressmen and businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles in connection with the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam.
Napoles is the alleged “brains” behind the Php 10-billion pork barrel and the Php 900-million Malampaya fund scams.
Among the respondents in the case are Enrile for allegedly amassing Php 172.8 million, Estrada with Php 183.79 million, Revilla with Php 224.5 million, former congresswoman and now Masbate Gov. Rizalina Seachon-Lanete with Php108.4 million, former APEC party-list Rep. Edgar Valdez with Php 56.09 million and the alleged “mastermind”, Janet Lim Napoles.
Aside from plunder, the DOJ also filed charges for malversation of public funds against 35 individuals, including some chiefs of staff of the lawmakers and officials of the implementing agencies under the Executive Department.
Based on the documents, Estrada allegedly allotted funds to fake non-governmental organizations (NGO) of Napoles, the Social Development Program for Farmers and the National Agri-Business Corporation (NABCOR).
Enrile allegedly used the Agri-economic Program for Farmers Foundation Inc., Agrikultura para sa Magbubukid, Agri and Economic Program for Farmers Foundation, and Countrywide Agri and Rural Economic Development Foundations Inc. (CARED).
Revilla allegedly used the NGOs of Napoles namely: the Agrikultura para sa Magbubukid Foundation Inc., Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation Inc., Agri Economic Program for Farmers Foundations, Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundations, National Agribusiness Corporation, Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundations Inc., at Agrikultura Para sa Magbubukid Foundation Inc., Philippine Social Dev’t Foundation Inc., and the Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation Inc. (PNA)