Palace: 'Pork' scam probe won't be limited to Napoles NGOs

By Delon Porcalla, The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 09 2014 02:56 AM | Updated as of Apr 09 2014 10:56 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The investigation on the pork barrel scam will not be limited to the bogus non-government organizations of alleged mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles but include all the others as well, Malacanang said Tuesday.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte pointed out the mandate of the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council – formed in 1999 – goes beyond the term limits of chief executives, including that of incumbent President Aquino.

“It was created in 1999, so we expect that the work will move forward,” Valte told a news briefing.

“The creation of IAGCC was not under this administration leading to the fact that it is not time-bound by the tenure of one president.”

The IAAGC – composed of the Office of the Ombudsman, the Commission on Audit and the Department of Justice – has in its list around 80 NGOs other than those of Napoles, who is now facing non-bailable charges of plunder.

The IAAGC is also focusing on other NGOs and the Malampaya funds.

“But the particular investigation on the non-Napoles NGOs, as well as the Malampaya Fund scam, is under the ambit of the IAGCC of which DOJ is a member,” Valte said.

“As mentioned in the COA report, there are around 80 NGOs. The only difference is DOJ is on point when it comes to the Napoles cases, but the rest of it is being investigated by IAGCC, by DOJ. But the point there is the Office of the Ombudsman with the assistance from COA,” she added.

Napoles was among those indicted in the charges of plunder that included Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada.

Napoles, meanwhile, is confined in hospital and scheduled for surgery to remove a cyst in her uterus.

The Office of the Ombudsman allowed them to file a motion for reconsideration and ask for a reversal of the finding of probable cause to indict them.

The cases stemmed from the testimony of principal whistle-blower Benhur Luy exposing Napoles’ scheme to siphon off the pork barrel funds of lawmakers through fake NGOs.

Revilla, for his part, made a last ditch effort to call on the Supreme Court (SC) to immediately resolve his plea to stop his indictment.

The SC allowed Revilla’s petition and canceled the oral arguments it earlier set on April 22 on his petition assailing the Office of the Ombudsman’s preliminary investigation against him.

Instead, the SC ordered parties to just submit their respective memorandum on the merits of the case as well on the issue of propriety and need for issuance of the temporary restraining order sought by Revilla.

Revilla earlier filed his petition for certiorari and prohibition assailing the orders issued by the Office of the Ombudsman last Jan. 28 and March 3 denying his motions to suspend preliminary investigation of the plunder case filed against him and several others by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Revilla filed another petition urging the SC to act on his prayer for TRO, saying his petition would become moot and academic once the ombudsman files the plunder case against him and others involved in the pork barrel scam before the Sandiganbayan.

Revilla sought the issuance of a TRO to enjoin the ombudsman from conducting proceedings on the case, pointing out a prejudicial question on the pending civil complaint before the regional trial court of Bacoor City.

Revilla filed the civil complaint to nullify some documents on the supposed allocations of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) as his signatures were supposedly forged. – With Edu Punay, Mike Frialde