• DOJ to file more ‘pork’ cases

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    The Department of Justice (DOJ) is poised to file criminal charges against more government officials and officers of non-government organizations (NGOs) allegedly involved in the misuse of lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.

    But the next batch of charges to be filed at the Office of the Ombudsman will no longer involved NGOs owned or controlled by Janet Lim Napoles, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said.

    “We will no longer file cases as far as Napoles NGOs are concerned. That [third batch]would be the last. There will be another batch of cases to be filed that we are working on, but it concerns NGOs not affiliated with Napoles,” de Lima told reporters.

    Last week, the Justice department filed malversation, bribery and graft charges against Sen. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan 3rd, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, La Union Rep. Victor Ortega, Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing, former Abono Reps. Conrad Estrella 3rd and Robert Raymund Estrella, former La Union Rep. Manuel Ortega, former Zamboanga Rep. Isidoro Real Jr., and Technical Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva.

    Last year, the Ombudsman filed plunder and graft complaints against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. in connection with the P10 billion pork barrel scam. Napoles was impleaded as respondent in all three cases.

    “This new batch will still cover the PDAF [releases]from 2007 to 2009 because it is the period covered in the COA (Commission on Audit) Special Audit Report. The filing of PDAF cases is not yet over because the Ombudsman is also still conducting fact-finding investigations,” de Lima said, referring to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.

    The Ombudsman determines if there is ground to file a complaint at the Sandiganbayan.

    Each member of the House of Representatives used to have P70 million PDAF or “pork barrel” – an amount that they can spend for their identified projects.

    Senators have a bigger pork allocation–P200 million–because the have a national constituency.

    The Supreme Court declared PDAF illegal in November 2013 after the expose on the P10 billion pork barrel scam wherein lawmakers were alleged to have pocketed kickbacks by channeling them to fake non-government entities owned by Napoles.

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