MANILA - Secretary Leila de Lima hinted yesterday that filing charges against the third set of former and incumbent officials implicated in the multibillion-peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam is no longer a priority of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Speaking to reporters, De Lima said she doesn’t know if they will be part of the DOJ’s priority.
“There are really very important matters on my table,” she said. “I also wasn’t able to focus on that anymore because there are more urgent cases that I had to personally attend to.”
De Lima said the investigation of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) hit a snag in the third batch when they found out that the signatures of the lawmakers implicated do not match those found in the pork barrel fund scam documents.
“But we will still determine how to really go through that in such a way that the case could still be filed,” she said.
On instructions of President Aquino, De Lima said she wanted to make sure that the third batch of pork barrel fund scam cases ''would stick, just like the first two batches.''
She issued the statement after revealing she was drawing up a “list” of priority cases that she intends to resolve before leaving the DOJ and possibly running for senator under the administration ticket.
The first batch of PDAF-related criminal charges was filed in September 2013 against 38 individuals, including Sens. Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada, as well as alleged mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
Two months later, in November 2013, graft complaints were filed against the second batch, including former Customs commissioner Ruffy Biazon and 33 others.
De Lima had announced that the third batch was forthcoming, but no cases have been filed after a year and five months.
Last year, reports came out that Sen. Gregorio Honasan and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director General Joel Villanueva were among those included in the third batch.
President Aquino’s administration has just a little over a year left.
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