Napoles tags Liberal Party, Aquino allies in 'pork' scam



Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles is readying a new case against high-profile personalities under Aquino administration, the Justice chief said.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said that Stephen David, a counsel for Napoles, named former Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad, as well as Sens. Leila De Lima, Antonio Trillanes IV and Franklin Drilon, to have been involved in the "pork barrel" scam.
"Nakausap ko na po actually ang kanyang lawyer. Ang sabi niya, in a few days, maglalabas na sila ng kaukulang habla at ifa-file ata nila iyon sa DOJ," Aguirre said in a televised phone patch interview with ABS-CBN’s "Umagang Kay Ganda."
The scam involved siphoning of legislative allocation, such as the Priority Development Assistance funds, to fake non-government organizations supposedly to line pockets of politicians who sponsored phony projects.
The initial batch of cases was filed by De Lima as justice secretary in 2013 under Benigno Aquino III, Duterte's predecessor. What followed was the arrest of then opposition senators Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla and Juan Ponce Enrile, who were accused of plunder in the scam.
De Lima, a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, previously accused Napoles of orchestrating the scheme, but the tide is turning.
"Mga ilang personalities po na mga talagang prominent personalities na involved doon sa PDAF scam ang uunahin nila... At parang kung hindi ako nagkakamali, ang mga nabanggit iyong mga prominent personalities noong nakaraang administrasyon ay sina Secretary Abad, parang kasama rin si Senator Trillanes, Senator De Lima at [former] Senate President Drilon,” Aguirre added.
Sen. Trillanes is similarly an opposition senator critical of Duterte's policies, while Sen. Drilon is a stalwart of the opposing Liberal Party. Abad, meanwhile, was a close ally of Aquino.
The justice secretary said there are also members of the House of Representatives being named in the case, but he refused to disclose them until the list has been finalized.

A De Lima-led 'conspiracy'

Aguirre said De Lima may have been involved in “instigation” or “conspiracy,” citing that an accomplice can also be held liable.
De Lima, however, was not a member of Congress from 2007 to 2009—the years which the new cases are supposed to cover—to be allocated PDAF or "pork barrel."
As Commission of Human Rights chair from 2008 to 2010, De Lima investigated extrajudicial killings in Davao City while Duterte was mayor. She only became the Justice secretary in 2010 before she ran for senator in May 2016.
Asked if this so-called conspiracy involved absolving certain personalities from the earlier cases, Aguirre replied: “Ah.. Maari pong ganoon kasi mayroon po tayong tinatawag na accomplice sa batas. ‘Yung ikaw ang tumulong para ma-commit ‘yung crime,” he said.

'No reason for revenge'

Aguirre, a long-time friend and lawyer of Duterte, also denied that the government is getting back at its critics while discrediting the former administration. President Duterte previously accused the Aquino administration of shielding its allies from the cases.
"Hindi po. Ang tingin ko po diyan ay iyan lamang ay pagpapatupad ng katarungan sapagkat kung ikaw ay nagkasala, at alam naman natin na kung ikaw ang namuno lalong-lalo na sa napakalaking pag-rape sa ating kabang bayan, ay wala pong paghihiganti," the Justice secretary said.
“Wala naman dapat ipaghiganti ang ating pangulo e ‘pagkat nanalo naman po siya at napakalaki ng kanyang panalo at hindi naman masabi na siya ay naghihiganti sapagkat nahirapan siya sa pagkapanalo, kaya po’t itoy pagpapatupad lamang ng batas at pagpapatupad ng katarungan,” Aguirre added, in defense of the president.
In May, the Court of Appeals pronounced Napoles "not guilty" in related serious illegal detention case after Duterte's solicitor general, Jose Calida, recommended her acquittal.d for.
Napoles, however, is still on detention and trial for plunder due to the pork barrel scam. She is linked to at least 10 questionable organizations that received P2.157 billion in legislative funds from 2007 to 2009.
For Aguirre, Napoles can become a state witness in the buildup of the next cases since she is the only one who can completely name all of those involved.

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