Gov't eyes refiling of fertilizer fund scam case

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 16 2014 04:56 PM | Updated as of May 17 2014 12:56 AM

MANILA - The Aquino administration is looking to refile the P728 million fertilizer fund scam case against former President Gloria Arroyo.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda released a message from Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. The executive's comment was sought on reports Benhur Luy has offered to spill the beans on the fertilizer fund scam, which is supposedly the precursor of the pork barrel scam.

"I will confirm first whether that's the statement of Benhur's lawyer. Also, I have been instructed by the President to review the case with the end in view of refiling the case, if it is still feasible and warranted," De Lima said.

The Ombudsman recently dismissed a corruption case against Arroyo for lack of evidence. The fertilizer fund scam allegedly arose from kickbacks given to lawmakers from bogus projects funded from the fertilizer support fund for farmers in agricultural communities.

The scam was revealed when even congressmen from urban centers received, or were offered proceeds from the scam.

The scam supposedly helped buy political support for the 2004 presidential campaign of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Similarly, the pork barrel scam involved the alleged siphoning of lawmakers priority development assistance funds into kickbacks for lawmakers from bogus projects implemented by bogus organizations.

Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the scam, already figured in the investigation of the fertilizer fund scam by the Senate though she was not implicated.

Last Sunday in Myanmar, President Aquino insisted that his administration did not file the fertilizer fund scam case against his predecessor which was dismissed.

"Since there was no case filed in court, hindi pa dinismiss ng Ombudsman e. There was no arraignment, double jeopardy doesn't come in. If we are able to get the necessary evidence, to make a stronger case, then that can be refiled. So my instruction has always been: Do not file until you are sure that the evidence is strong," he said.