NEW YORK - Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has told the Filipino community in New York there is enough evidence to prove the guilt of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla, and Jinggoy Estrada who have been linked to the pork barrel scam.
The Philippines' top graft buster is in New York teaching her American counterparts some tried and tested strategies used by one who battles corruption almost daily.
Carpio-Morales is on a study tour on the invitation of US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg.
"You know what he said, 'Why haven't you gone to the States?' My answer was because no one has invited me," she said. "And then he said, 'This much we can promise you as of now, you are going on a study tour.'"
But a lot of work awaits back home, where 20 senators and about 88 congressmen have been implicated in what is now known as the pork barrel scam -- a scheme that embezzled government of billions of pesos -- reportedly perpetrated by a woman who convinced politicians to put their congressional allocations in her bogus non-profit organizations in exchange for kickbacks.
Carpio-Morales said her office found probable cause to indict Enrile, Revilla, and Estrada, as well as the alleged mastermind Janet Lim Napoles for plunder and graft.
"Of course, they filed a motion for reconsideration, and I understand they are now awaiting my return," she said. "I'm prepared to face them. I was telling them I have yet to study in earnest their motion for reconsideration, so only God knows if they will be indicted in court."
While Carpio-Morales said there is no specific time frame for her to sign the charges against the 3 senators, she gave an assurance to the Filipino community at at townhall meeting in New York.
"Does the Office of the Ombudsman have enough evidence to secure the conviction of the three senators?" the meeting moderator asked.
"That's supposed to be confidential," Carpio-Morales replied. "But, but, given the fact that the Ombudsman has already come up with a resolution that there's probable cause, we believe that the crimes were committed, that the respondents are probably guilty."
"We have enough evidence," she said, which drew an applause from the crowd.
Community leader Loida Nicolas Lewis said Filipinos should bear with the Ombudsman's meticulous handling of the case.
"Kung butas-butas o kulang ng mga documento ang ipe-present mo, ma-a-acquit lang sila, so I'm glad that she's taking her time and making it really airtight para wala nang ligtas," Lewis said. - with ANC