• 3 Furies’ to unearth more scams

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    BESIDES the fraudulent schemes involving Janet Lim-Napoles, Malacanang said the government’s “Three Furies”—Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and Commission on Audit (COA) chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan—will unearth other anomalies once they wrapped up a separate probe on these.

    In a press briefing, Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the trio, who form the Interagency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council (IAGCC), are separately looking into other fraudulent transactions of non-government organizations (NGOs) outside the scope of Napoles’ operation.

    “Initial focus of the DOJ [Department of Justice] was on the Napoles NGOs, and the IAGCC was activated to handle all those cases which are not Napoles-related. And so, those other NGOs—allegedly fraudulent NGOs—have been forwarded to the IAGCC, which is composed of the Three Furies: Secretary Leila de Lima, COA Chair Grace Pulido-Tan, and the Ombudsman Chit Carpio-Morales,” Lacierda said.

    “So they are now evaluating those cases which do not fall under the umbrella of the Napoles NGOs,” he pointed out.

    Since the pork barrel scam remains the main issue of the day, the Palace official said they have yet to receive updates from the other investigations being conducted by the IAGC.

    “They have been tasked to study it but we don’t have any developments. Maybe Secretary Leila de Lima and the Ombudsman and COA chair can shed light on the developments with respect to those other NGOs,” Lacierda added.

    He clarified, however, that the directive to the “Three Furies” “is to just make certain that whatever evidence that they have evaluated, and whatever case that they intend to file, should be supported strongly with the proof.”

    “I suppose they’re just wanting to make sure that whatever cases will be filed, will be filed with sufficient evidence to support a case against any person who will be found involved in whatever fraudulent scheme there was,” Lacierda said.

    He and Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. separately expressed hope that the pork barrel and Malampaya fund scams will be tried expeditiously.

    “We are determined to pursue the ends of justice and hope that our justice system will be responsive to our people’s aspirations,” Coloma said in a text message to The Manila Times.

    He was reacting to a Times’ report that due to the growing number of those allegedly involved in the pork barrel case, the trial could last up to more than 10 years. This estimate was given by Raji Mendoza, the counsel of Benhur Luy.

    “The case should proceed. But, again, while the President wants action [to be) taken on all these cases, the President is also cognizant of the right of each and every individual to due process. So you balance the requirements of the Constitution in respect of due process, but at the same time, we also want to make sure that the evidence that we build, the case that we build against certain individuals will be strongly supported,” Lacierda said.

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