MANILA - The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is not inclined to grant Aklan Lone District Rep. Teodorico Haresco Jr.'s plea for a reinvestigation in the wake of the bureau's findings to charge him with falsification of public documents in connection with its fake SARO (special allotment release order) probe.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Haresco was given the opportunity to be heard and give his side during the investigation, but did not give access to NBI probers.
"I don't think we are inclined to do that kasi ifafile na sa proper forum -- whether DOJ (Dept of Justice) or Ombudsman. That is the proper forum now. In so far as NBI is concerned, sabi nila ginawa nila paraan [to get his side] pero hindi napagbigyan," de Lima said.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Haresco said he was "flabbergasted" to be among those recommended charged for the proliferation of the fake SAROs.
He said he was even part of the group that complained about the fake documents with the NBI.
Haresco also claimed his staff coordinated with the NBI investigators.
The NBI probe focused on "two incidents of peddling of falsified SAROs" for farm-to-market road projects for Regions II and VII, upon the request of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
The fake SARO for Region VI allegedly came from Haresco's office.
NBI TO PROBE DEEPER; SUSPECTS SYNDICATE BEHIND SCHEME
On suspicion that they unearthed only a small portion of a bigger scam, the NBI SARO probe team recommended to continue its investigation, de Lima said.
The justice chief said a "bigger syndicate" is behind these two SARO peddling incidents.
"I have actually granted their recommendation na ipursue pa ito for further investigation. Ito ang pinaka-unang request ng DBM... SAROs for regions II and VI. In the course of their (NBI) investigation of those two SAROs, they unearthed nga the existence of a bigger syndicate kaya lang these sources were talking to the NBI on request of anonymity,” she said.
"There is a syndicate, a well-entrenched syndicate. Sabi ko let's identify more people engaged in that nefarious [activity]," she added.
No further details were given as to the next phase of the SARO probe.
The justice chief earlier bared that at least 12 falsified SAROs for farm-to-market road projects totalling P879.86 million reached regional offices of the Department of Agriculture, which sent alarm bells with the DBM main office.