Ombudsman Morales & P10-billion pork barrel scam

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It has been more than six months now since the Department of Justice (DoJ) filed the much-awaited plunder and malversation charges with the Office of the Ombudsman. Last 16 September 2013, the DOJ charged 38 persons for the P10-billion pork barrel scam that included three senators, five former congressmen and five former chiefs of staff.

However, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has not filed the corresponding complaints with the Sandiganbayan until today. Six months and two weeks have passed since the DOJ filed the said charges and nothing has been heard from Ombudsman Morales on the status of the historic case that includes Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, “Jinggoy” Ejercito Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr.

Let us re-visit what transpired that fateful third week of September 2013. After the filing of the charges by the DOJ with the Office of the Ombudsman 16 September 16, Ombudsman Morales was asked in a Senate budget hearing how long it would take her office to decide on whether charges will be filed with the Sandibayan. Her succinct reply was: “Up to one year!”

The timetable of “one year” did not sit well with the Filipino people who have been following the outrageous P10-billion embezzlement involving the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of senators and congressmen. No less than the opposition in the House of Representatives did not agree with the one-year estimate of the Ombudsman.


House Minority leader Ronaldo Zamora, a known legal luminary, gave their position that the one-year timeframe is too long to determine “probable cause.” Representative Zamora stated that the process can definitely take a much lesser time. On the same day that Zamora’s statement appeared in the newspapers, Ombudsman Morales backtracked and changed her tune when she addressed the 3rd Integrity Summit in Makati.

The retired Supreme Court justice who was appointed Ombudsman by President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd in 2011 declared that the Filipino people will be “in for a surprise” and that it will take “much less” than a year for her to resolve the plunder and malversation cases. However, Ombudsman Morales did not qualify what she exactly meant when she was later interviewed by reporters. Her reply was a childish “secret” that was said in jest.

Indeed, the Filipino people and the foreigners following the P10-billion pork barrel scam have been “in for a surprise,” as the Ombudsman promised. Nothing has happened to the historic case filed since September of last year. Nothing has been heard of any development from Ombudsman Morales herself or her office. What a shame for a former Supreme Court justice who is supposed to have integrity and competence.

No less than Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, a former judge herself, has taken notice of the delay. Last week, Senator Santiago called on Ombudsman Conchita Carpio- Morales to start filing the charges against the respondents involving the PDAF of the members of Congress.

“The point is that it has been six months, I think that it will be best if the Ombudsman already files some of the cases in court because the public is getting jaded by these revelations in the Senate probe, plus they are not seeing action (taken),” Santiago said. She added, “we don’t want the public interest to die on this matter because the plunder case is just too important to the national economy.”

So far, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has already conducted nine hearings in its investigation on the misuse and abuse of billions of pesos on the PDAF involving bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) of the alleged mastermind, Janet Lim Napoles. Yet no word from the Office of the Ombudsman on the plunder cases filed before her office.

It now appears that Ombudsman Morales has taken a more personal interest on the BIR case of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona than on the important and urgent matter of the plunder charges filed by the DOJ before her office. In January this year, the Ombudsman filed the case of tax evasion against Mr. Corona before the Sandiganbayan.

Last Thursday, Ombudsman Morales asked the same anti-graft court to freeze and seize the assets of Mr. Corona estimated at over P130 million. The Office of the Ombudsman alleged that these assets are ill-gotten wealth of Mr and Mrs. Corona. She seems to be spending more time on the Corona case than on the PDAF plunder cases.

Yet as Mr. Corona has asked before: “What fairness could we have received from an Ombudsman who viciously prevaricated and testified against me as a malicious hostile witness during my sham trial and an estimated P 6.5-billion (at the very least) bribe-laden impeachment trial in 2012?”

Perhaps if Ombudsman Morales will take the same time on and interest in the P10-billion pork barrel scam as she did with former Supreme Court Chief Justice Corona, then the plunder and malversation charges may finally be filed with the Sandiganbayan!

rbrparadigm@gmail.com

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13 Comments

  1. christer astrom ,sweden on

    I have followed policies in asia for some years when I was living in Thailand.I have also visit many countries in asia. I am surprised how corruption is spread in asia.In Thailand,which I know best, businessmen can’t work if they don’t bribe an official.We all must get rid off corruption,that holds back increasing welfare of the people.There is a lot of laws,but nobody follow them.Rich people help each other to avoid penalty.I belive that you must study Singapore.They have got rid of corruption very good.
    Transparence is the answer + moral behavior of official and polis and independent courts.With a heavy corruption,every country will have 99% poor and 1% extremly rich=Poor country. Christer Astrom,Sweden

  2. jose b. taganahan on

    In fairness to Ombudsman Morales, the case against former Chief Justice Corona is very simple compared to case against the three (3) sitting Senators and thirty five (35) others alleged to have plundered 10 bilion pesos worth of PDAF of lawmakers, what with the ‘truckloads of evidence” that the DOJ attached to the complaint. I believed that as of today, the Ombudsman has not yet find probable cause to indict the three (3) senators and thirty five (35) others. Otherwise, she would have already filed these cases before the Sandiganbayan which would surely be apreciated by the Pnoy Administration and a large portion of the public with mob mentality.

  3. jose b. taganahan on

    In fairness to Ombudsman Morales, the case against former Chief Justice Corona is very simple compared to case against the three (3) sitting Senators and thirty five (35) others alleged to have plundered 10 bilion pesos worth of PDAF of lawmakers, what with the ‘truckloads of evidence” that the DOJ attached to the complaint. I believed that as of today, the Ombudsman has not yet find probable cause to indict the three (3) senators and thirty five (35). Otherwise, she would have already filed these cases before the Sandiganbayan which would surely be apreciated by the Pnoy Administration and a large portion of the public with mob mentality.

  4. mauricio palao on

    There are millions waiting for justice in this case. I am afraid, though, that there will be further, indeterminate delays due, simply, to the sheer number of the moving parts involved; ie: the Sandiganbayan, the Ombudsman, the Justice department, the BIR, the NBI and, (trust me), the Supreme Court. All these agencies should be pulling towards one direction in a synchronized manner sans ‘grandstanding’. To be sure, there are those among them to whom ‘Justice’ is a passion; unfortunately, there are, as well, those to whom ‘Justice’ is just good manners..and can wait. I can’t help but feel apprehensive. Let’s keep the pressure..shall we?

  5. Manny Billena on

    Ombudsman Morales should resign from her post if she cannot perform her functions within a reasonable time. A period of six months is long enough for her to determine the existence or non-existence of probable cause evidence in regard to the plunder charges against Senators Enrile, Revilla, Estrada and their co-respondents. The delay in the resolution of said charges is an implied message from our chief graft-buster that the culture of impunity is alive and well in the Philippines.

  6. mikhail Hieronymus on

    There must be a “Monkey behind the curtain” who is pulling the strings. How else can you explain things happening the way they are happening before our eyes.

    Every one in this administration is just following the orders of the Monkey behind the curtain. As the weatherman always say at the end of his program: Ang buhay ay: Weather, Weather Lang. Watch for the next administration. Another drama will be next!!!!!

  7. it s high time to impeach this useless old ombudswoman and replace by a younger energetic independent mind.

  8. I wonder how her honer(less) the Ombudsman would feel about being incarcerated in Bilibid in her criminal role as acting personal prosecutor of the Pork King Abnoy? Abuse of office is an offence against the Phl.

  9. Siony Camacho Bana on

    There’s no doubt , that Ombudsman Conchita Morales and the current President has taken a selective process vs CJ Renato Corona, and purportedly carried a personal vendetta because of Hacienda Luisita, period. For CJ Corona , it maybe a grueling process to defend himself, but I read that CJ Corona specialized in Taxation, that anyone by law is entitled to due process by amending any errors of his tax records, which he had faithfully followed and filed accordingly, unlike the many Congressmen and Senators now involved in PDAF scam with janet Lim Napoles whose SALN has not been disclosed at all as required by law of any elected politicians serving the gov’t country incldg the Presidenrt. law should be applied equally and no one should be above the law. Lawmakers should uphold the law for every Filipino to follow and they should serve as an example .

  10. Could it be possible that after reading and studying all documents relating to PDAF scam, Ombudsman Carpio-Morales cannot build a good case to pin down the 3 senators and prove them guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Whistle blowers Benhur Luy and Dennis Cunanan were not in the same page when they appeared before the Senate Blue-Ribbon Committee and what would you expect from the rest of the whistle blowers. Whistle blowers should and must be accountable for their acts of corruption and they should be prosecuted asap. Dept. of Justice should not wait for Napoles to become a state witness because of the humongous amount of money she took from the PDAF of senators and congressmen. DoJ should use her mental prowess and intellectual power, brilliance knowing the law and should investigate, prove the senators and congressmen for the PDAF scam instead of cuddling the whistle blowers.

  11. Lourdes M. Ceballos on

    There’s that saying, “justice delayed is justice denied.” Do you think such delaying tactics are not obvious to Pres. Benigno Aquino? His silence is tell-tale evidence.

  12. Tumpak. I can’t wait for God’s justice to be served to that woman and the man she serves!