Napoles will be the new witness for PDAF Scam – Aguirre

admin   •   May 9, 2017   •   3248

MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) plans to reopen the investigation on the controversial PDAF scam.

From being the mastermind, Janet Lim Napoles may be presented as a witness.  Justice Secretary Vitalianio Aguirre said this will be so if Napoles’ testimonies will be supported by documents.

“We are planning na talagang gagamitin si Janet Napoles kung makipag-cooperate siya,” Sec. Aguirre said. (We are planning to really use Janet Napoles as a witness if she cooperated,)

The possibility of making Napoles a witness in the PDAF Scam probe had been considered when Senator Leila de Lima was still the DOJ Secretary.

A ‘Napolist’ or a list of lawmakers involved in the PDAF Scam had even surfaced once before.

Meanwhile, Napoles has been acquitted from serious illegal detention charges after the court of appeals reversed the ruling of the Makati RTC.

The Makati RTC meted a life sentence on Napoles for forcibly confining Benhur Luy in a retreat house in Makati City in 2013.

However, the appellate court said there is insufficient evidence against Napoles so she must be released.

Napoles’ lawyer said the acquittal will affect Luy’s credibility as a witness.

“Pero ngayon, lumalabas na sinungaling si Benhur Luy dahil sinasabi niya na (illegally detained) siya, eh hindi naman totoo. So ano ngayon ang credibility niya dun sa mga sinasabi niya? Malaking factor iyan. Shut down ang credibility niya dyan,” Atty. Stephen David said.  (It appears now that Benhur Luy is lying because he was claiming that he was illegally detained, but it’s not true. So how credible is he now? That will be a big factor. His credibility will be eroded with this.)

But Napoles cannot be free yet because she is still facing plunder and graft charges in relation to the pork barrel scam. – Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue

Duterte appoints resigned DOJ Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre II to NAPOLCOM

Marje Pelayo   •   January 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque confirmed the appointment of former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II as the new Commissioner of the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM).

He will represent the private sector.

Roque said Aguirre’s services as secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ) during the early years of the Duterte Administration “bodes well in his new position to make the police service competent, effective, credible and responsive to our people’s needs.”

In April 2018, Aguirre resigned amid controversies in the justice department.

READ: Pres. Duterte accepts Aguirre’s resignation

Among these include the P50-M bribery scandal of Bureau of Immigration (BI); the submission of alleged mastermind Janet Lim Napoles under witness protection program and the dismissal of charges against self-confessed drug dealer Kerwin Espinosa and alleged drug lord Peter Lim.

Aguirre denies links to ‘pastillas scheme’

Robie de Guzman   •   September 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Tuesday denied allegations that he is the protector of the group behind the so-called pastillas scheme in the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

During the resumption of the Senate probe on the issue, Aguirre refuted media practitioner Ramon Tulfo Jr.’s claims, saying it was only fueled by “vendetta and dirty politics.”

Aguirre said Tulfo’s accusations against him might be connected to the time when he was still DOJ secretary and he denied the latter’s request to consolidate his libel cases.

Aguirre served as Secretary of Justice from 2016 to 2018.

In March this year, Tulfo accused Aguirre of involvement in the pastillas scheme after he placed the father and son tandem of Maynardo and Red Mariñas to head the visa upon arrival system in the country. Tulfo also claimed that a chopper regularly delivers kickback from the scheme to Aguirre’s hometown in Mulanay, Quezon.

The former secretary, however, denied Tulfo’s allegations.

“Alam mo, kapag ikaw sumulat ng anuman o mag-akusa ng anuman na wala kang ebidensya, malicious yan, Tulfo!” Aguirre said during the hearing.

“Kung totoo ‘yang sinasabi mo, hindi ba yan Mr. Tulfo na dapat yan ay ililhim mo? Para walang makakitang ibang tao. Pero kabaliktaran, ginagawa mo akong isang istupidong Department of Justice secretary na ipagwawadwaran ko pa ang mga panunuhol sa akin,” he added.

He also reasoned that he already resigned from the post when the issue surfaced.

“As such, I am bereft of power or authority to control, much less head, a syndicate operating in the BI,” he said.

Aside from Aguirre and Tulfo, whistleblower Allison Chiong also attended the probe.

He told senators that high-ranking officials including those in the travel control and enforcement unit and terminal heads at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport who are allegedly involved in the scheme have yet to face charges.

“Sa immigration po kasi, itong term na boss, napaka parang broad… Oh halimbawa ah, ‘sabi ng mga boss, i-check niyo daw muna sa loob kasi nagmamanman ang NBI diyan. So lahat ang checking sa loob. Wala po dito ‘yun. Wala dito ‘yung mga boss,” he said.

Nineteen Immigration officers allegedly linked to the pastillas scheme are currently facing charges filed by the National Bureau of Investigation at the Office of the Ombudsman.

The modus was called pastillas, derived from a Filipino sweet and sticky dessert, because the bribe money that some personnel receive were concealed inside rolled up papers.

The scheme allegedly takes advantage of Chinese casino high-rollers and offshore gaming workers who wish to be escorted to dodge the immigration screening process for a fee.

According to Senator Risa Hontivers, chairperson of the Senate committee on women, children family relations and gender equality that has been conducting the probe, the panel will study recommendations to implement a reshuffle in the Immigration bureau, and suspend officers who are facing charges as well as those involved in the visa upon arrival system. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Sandiganbayan allows Estrada, Napoles to seek plunder case dismissal

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 20, 2019

(L-R) Former Senator Jinggoy Estrada and businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles

The Sandiganbayan has allowed senatorial candidate Jinggoy Estrada and businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles to file for the dismissal of the plunder charge against them.

The 5th division of the Sandiganbayan has given both parties 10 days to file their demurrer of evidence. The prosecution will also be given 10 days to respond.

The resolution states: “After a meticulous examination of the totality of evidence presented by the prosecution, both testimonial and documentary, the Court resolves to grant the present motion of the accused, to sufficiently provide him an opportunity to challenge the sufficiency of the prosecution’s evidence establishing material elements o the offense charged to support a judgment of guilt.”

Estrada and Napoles are facing plunder and graft charges following their involvement in the ‘pork barrel scam’. Estrada is accused of amassing P180 million kickback from the Priority Development Assistance Fund of bogus non-government organizations which is reportedly linked to Napoles.

READ: Janet Napoles to serve a lifetime in jail over PDAF scam

Estrada denies his involvement with the ‘pork barrel scam’ and connection with Napoles. Meanwhile, Napoles is already convicted in a separate plunder case in December last year.—Aileen Cerrudo

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