MANILA, Philippines - Former senator and now rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson disclosed yesterday that there are 21 former and incumbent senators, 90 congressmen and two Cabinet members implicated in the pork barrel scam and the Malampaya Fund anomaly from 2000 to 2010.
He said the additional lawmakers implicated in the pork barrel and Mampalaya Fund scams came from the list of whistle-blower Benhur Luy that was retrieved from the hard disc of a computer.
“Some of the names were not in the Napoles list, it came from Benhur,” Lacson told reporters during the weekly Kapihan sa Diamond Hotel news forum in Manila.
Lacson, who now heads the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Rehabilitation and Recovery, had earlier claimed Jimmy Napoles, husband of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, gave him a list of lawmakers and other personalities involved in the misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of senators and congressmen.
Napoles’ lawyer Bruce Rivera later clarified that the list given to Lacson was “just partial.”
Lacson earlier revealed he was given by the Napoles family a draft of an unsigned affidavit, which reportedly listed over 100 personalities, including at least 10 other former and incumbent senators.
The new list, according to Lacson, contains 12 incumbent senators, including Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada, while the rest were former senators who served from 2000 to 2010.
Lacson said the list included at least 90 congressmen, including two lawmakers now in the Aquino Cabinet.
The former senator, however, clarified that President Aquino is not among the former congressmen in the new list.
He said the three sets of documents consist of a narration of events, a list and a draft affidavit of Napoles.
Lacson, however, clarified that he cannot vouch for the authenticity of the documents and it would be up to the proper government agencies to validate them.
“I am just a messenger,” he said.
Lacson said he has already met with Senate Blue Ribbon panel chairman Sen. Teofisto Guingona III for the turnover of the documents.
When asked about the amount involved in the alleged anomaly, Lacson said that at least 40 to 60 percent of the P200-million pork barrel of senators and P70 million of congressmen went to the “deep pockets of corruption.”
He said some lawmakers got as much as P500 million worth of pork barrel funds during their term.
“You can compute the amount in 10 years’ time,” he said.
He said the anti-pork barrel crusade, which he initiated when he was senator, is now bearing fruit as no less than the Supreme Court has ruled the PDAF illegal.
“The battle against corruption is now half won,” he added.
Lacson, however, does not see a conviction of any lawmaker in the next two years, but said it’s a good start.
“For the longest time they (congressmen and senators) were feeling invincible. It’s now time they concentrate on lawmaking and oversight functions of Congress,” he said.
PNoy doubts lists
President Aquino has seen the lists of lawmakers and personalities implicated in the pork barrel scam that came from Napoles, but he expressed doubts on the credibility of the businesswoman and raised suspicion about the motives behind the release of such lists. He said the names included were varied and he was not keen on releasing them at this point.
He said there might be deliberate attempts to sow confusion or use these lists as a delaying tactic, but this should not derail the administration from ferreting out the truth about the issue.
Aquino told reporters in an interview after attending the 24th Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit and related meetings in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, that Napoles actually gave three different lists of her supposed conspirators to authorities.
Aquino said he has seen two of the lists: one list was sent to him by Napoles and another was given to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. The third list was given to Lacson.
Asked if his allies were indeed listed as among those who benefitted from the scam, Aquino said, “Merong alleged, maraming hindi (Some alleged, but mostly not).”
But since there were discrepancies and the numbers were fluctuating, Aquino said it would prompt one to ask: “Ano ba talaga, ate (What’s the real score)?”
Aquino said there were assumptions in the beginning that there was only one Napoles list, but the first list that was shown to him had X number of those allegedly involved and then the next list he saw was “minus three.”
A third list was “plus four,” but he said these would still help them ferret out the truth.
“You are not talking one peso or two pesos here... You are talking about millions in transactions allegedly. But how can you keep on changing who your co-conspirators were? And how do you (reconcile the affidavits that are) not complete... Of course I would remind everyone involved to check the facts one by one, while the facts have gradually increased... By the time every dead end is clarified, it has taken you where (things) should really go,” Aquino said.
He said they were being thrown details that seemed to confuse the whole issue, and by the time their remaining two years in office were through, then nothing is achieved.
“Of course we’re aware that this might be the objective, but I was really taken aback by the changing numbers. That seems to be such a very principal and material fact. Now, the follow up might be: ‘Will I ask her why she changed?’ I don’t want to talk to her. She can talk to the people who will be in a position to evaluate evidence and that means primarily lawyers,” Aquino said.
Aquino said as he understood it, the affidavits were not signed and were a work in progress because Napoles was changing them.
“I have seen two and they don’t agree with each other exactly. And they are both supposed to have come from Mrs. Napoles. Now, Lacson was telling me of another list given to him by relatives of Mrs. Napoles.
“And, again, there is a substantial detail there that doesn’t agree with the other two. So when you ask me, ‘did you see a list?’ I think the best answer is I have seen physically two lists and I am told that there is a third list,” Aquino said.With Aurea Calica