What kind of game is now being played by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Ombudsman with the P10-billion pork barrel scam allegedly committed by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles together with the “honorable” members of Congress, their staff-members and the top officials of national government agencies?
By now, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima should have already filed the charges with the Office of the Ombudsman against the third batch of persons involved in the embezzlement of public funds in the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). This will be based on the same testimonies and supporting documents from the whistleblowers and the Commission on Audit (CoA) Report for the period 2007-2009.
What is taking Secretary De Lima and her NBI-DOJ team so long to file the third batch of complaints when they were able to do so with first batch of charges almost eight months ago in September last year? Among those charged in the first batch are opposition Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “ Bong” Revilla Jr., who have not resigned until today.
In early April last month, sources of newspapers like the Philippines Daily Inquirer revealed that the third batch will be filed either by the end of April or early May. The same source of the Inquirer divulged that those to be charged will be members of the Liberal Party and political allies of the Aquino administration. So what happened last April that the “leak” given to the press did not materialize?
The latest development occured three weeks ago on 22 April 2014 during a five-hour meeting between Justice Secretary de Lima and the Ms. Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind. It was supposed to be a “Tell-All” meeting where Ms. Napoles gave a complete list of persons involved in the flagrant scandal. The “Napoles List’ was given before her operation at the Ospital ng Maynila (Hospital of Manila).
Thus, it now appears that the “Napoles List” is now the distraction that is keeping the DOJ from filing the third batch that is already long overdue. What has emerged as an issue is the publication of the list and the possibility that it may be sanitized. Last Tuesday, Secretary De Lima reassured the Filipino people: “Trust me, I will not sanitize the list.”
It is doubtlful that the “Napoles List” will be sanitized by the Justice Secretary. On the same day that the Justice Secretary made the reassurance, former Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson threatened to release the list of lawmakers and officials involved in the P10-B scam if the list is sanitized. The Rehabilitation chief made the threat after his press briefing in Malacañang on the rebuilding efforts for the survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda.
However, Mr. Lacson does not believe that the “Napoles List” is complete or a ‘Tell All.” This is because some names, which he believes should be included, are missing.
The conclusion is probably based on his information or personal knowledge of the senators, congressmen and top officials involved in the multi-billion corruption scandal.
What is intriguing with the list of Mr. Lacson is the number of senators involved. It seems that it is much more than people ever imagined. Earlier he said that the number was “enough to constitute a quorum” in the Senate. This means at least 13 senators. Last Tuesday, the former senator revealed that the senators involved are “enough to ratify a treaty.” This means that it is now at least 16 senators! This is a very explosive expose!
There appears to be a confluence of events with the delay of the filing of the third batch of complaints by the DoJ with the Office of the Ombudsman and the emergence of the Napoles List last April 22. The same can be said of the delay by the Office of the Ombudsman in the filing of the information with the Sandiganbayan on those accused with the first batch of charges.
More than a month ago, the Office of the Ombudsman announced that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales had approved the recommendation of the Special Joint Panel that found probable cause in their three joint resolutions to indict for Plunder & Corruption the three senators and the alleged mastermind of the P10-billion scam.
Those accused have submitted their motions for reconsideration of the charges filed against them. The Office of the Ombudsman has had four weeks to evaluate them, but has not yet made any announcement. They seem to be more occupied with the return of the P40-mlion commission that Ms. Ruby Tuason, now a state witness, has done
Like the DOJ, the Ombudsman seems to be deferring its final decision on whether to file the complaints with the Sandiganbayan. What are they waiting for? What game are the Ombudsman and the Justice secretary playing with the Filipino people? Is this a similar game President Benigno Aquino 3rd is playing and why he cannot fire his Secretary of Agriculture in spite of all the corruption in that department, such as the multi-billion rice-smuggling?
Here’s what the Justice Secretary & the Ombudsman should do and have done:
Justice Secretary de Lima should have filed the third batch of complaints with the Office of the Ombudsman in early May in spite of the “Napoles List” given to her on April 22. The additional names on the list can be charged later after the vetting process, even after a month or two later in early June or early July.
July is a good month for the last and final batch of complaints to be filed by DOJ with the Office of the Ombudsman. That would be exactly a year when the P10-billion PDAF pork barrel scam was exposed by the newspapers. By this time, the Ombudsman should have also already filed the information with the Sandiganbayan on those accused in the second and third batches of complaints. The Trial of the Century would have began!