Janet Napoles to serve a lifetime in jail over PDAF scam

Marje Pelayo   •   December 7, 2018   •   7538

FILE PHOTO: Janet Lim Napoles

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan has sentenced ‘pork barrel’ scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and Richard Cambe a lifetime in jail as the anti-graft court on Friday (December 7) acquitted Cambe’s former boss, former senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr.

Napoles and Cambe were sentenced to ‘reclusion perpetua’ or 40 years imprisonment.

Based on the decision of the Sandiganbayan Special Fifth Division, the prosecution failed to prove that Revilla was guilty of amassing P224.5M from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to support Napoles’ fake foundations.

The court also ruled that it was Cambe who was guilty of misusing the funds.

The Sandiganbayan also ordered Napoles, Cambe and Revilla to return P124 million in line with the case.

With the conviction, Napoles will remain inside the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong while Cambe, who was previously detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center, will be transferred to the New Bilibid Prison.

On June 2014, the Office of the Ombudsman filed plunder cases before the Sandiganbayan against Revilla and his colleagues, former senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada. Napoles and Cambe were among the co-accused.

Enrile, then 92-years-old, was allowed bail due to old age, while the court said evidence failed to establish that Estrada was the main plunderer in the case.

The case is dubbed as the biggest corruption case decided by the Sandiganbayan to date. – Marje Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

Sandiganbayan junks raps vs Purisima, Napeñas over Mamasapano clash

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 22, 2020

The Sandiganbayan has dismissed the charges against former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima and ex-PNP Special Action Force chief Getulio Napeñas over the Mamasapano clash in 2015.

The dismissal of the charges against the two former police officers was due to the lack of probable cause to charge them of graft and usurpation of official functions complaints for their involvement in the anti-terrorist operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in 2015.

The said operation led to the deaths of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos.

Purisima was charged for still leading the operation to kill terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir or Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman, under Oplan Exodus, despite being suspended as the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief.

Napeñas, on the other hand, was also charged for allegedly conspiring with Purisima.

Based on the resolution, Purisima and Napeñas cannot be charged due to the lack of sufficient evidence.

“There is no mention in the information, nor any evidence on record, that accused Napeñas received or expected to receive any material remuneration or consideration therefor,” the resolution states. “It could not be said that Purisima was under the pretense of being a PNP chief because he was ordered by his president and commander-in-chief to perform such supervision and monitoring.”

Purisima and Napeñas were charged with violating Section 3(a) of the anti-graft law which punishes “persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations.”

Meanwhile, the Sandiganbayan said the dismissal of the criminal complaints did not mean that the two accused had no liability over the Mamasapano clash and appropriate charges can still be filed against them.

“What the court merely ruled is the non-existence of probable cause against Napeñas in both charges and the insufficiency of the allegations in the information filed against Purisima,” the resolution reads.—AAC

Senate to probe PCGG for losing ill-gotten wealth case against Marcoses

Maris Federez   •   December 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Committee on Justice will conduct an investigation on the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) on the measures it has taken to sequester the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family.

Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Richard Gordon will particularly question the PCGG’s failure to win the case against the Marcoses.

“Kung meron talagang ganung kalaking halaga, papaano nakuha yung perang yan. Yan ang unang tatanungin ko. Papaanong nakalap yan at bakit hindi ninyo maimbestigahan ng maayos para just follow the paper trail,” Gordon said.

On Monday (Dec. 16), the Sandiganbayan junks the 200-Billion forfeiture case against the Marcos family.

This is the fourth time that the PCGG lost its case in the Sandiganbayan. — (with details from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Lacson says proposed 2020 budget still tainted with pork barrel

Robie de Guzman   •   December 11, 2019

Senator Panfilo Lacson

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday said the proposed 2020 national budget signed by the congressional bicameral conference committee is still tainted with pork barrel.

In a statement, Lacson noted that “bad habits are indeed hard to break,” as he revealed some of the budget insertions allegedly made by the House of Representatives before the bicameral conference committee approved the report on the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020.

“It is revolting to note that legislators keep on dipping their dirty fingers on our national budget in spite of pending cases involving the same issue,” he said.

The senator said he did not attend the signing of the report on the budget bill which was held during a meeting at a hotel in Makati City.

He mentioned that one reason why he skipped the meeting was because his office received a USB containing two files – the “Source” file and the “List” file – from the Lower House on Tuesday night.

“Our preliminary scrutiny of the last-minute insertions made by the House would indicate that the Source File is the list of 1,253 budget items worth P83.219B that was apparently used as the congressmen’s ‘source’ of their ‘list’ of 742 projects worth P16.345B that were inserted in the bicam report that was signed by both panels this morning,” he said.

“Since there is no preliminary explanation from the House regarding the two files, we cannot ascertain if indeed only P16.345B or the bigger amount of P83.219B was inserted at the last minute prior to the bicam signing,” he added.

He continued with: “What is clear, though, is that there are still lump sums and vaguely described projects that are now part of the bicam report.”

Lacson said that their initial check of the files showed that the top provinces with huge allocations include:

  • Albay – P670M
  • Cavite – P580M
  • Sorsogon – P570M
  • Batangas – P502M
  • Bulacan – P440M
  • Pangasinan – P420M
  • Cebu – P410M

He also claimed that 117 flood control projects worth P3.179-billion dominated the insertions, “with eight projects uniformly budgeted at P60 million each.”

“There are more corruption-driven insertions in the Files sent to us that I have not mentioned. Thus, we will continue to diligently scrutinize it and inform the DBM and the Office of the President as I have high hopes that President Rodrigo Duterte will again display his aversion to corruption,” he added.

“Pork is here to stay. I hope the President will again exercise his political will in vetoing line items that will obviously waste people’s tax money,” he further stated.

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