Group files malversation complaints vs Aquino, allies over DAP

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 15 2018 04:38 PM

Former President Benigno Aquino III, former Budget and Management Secretary Butch Abad, former Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas and Senator Antonio Trillanes. File

MANILA - The Truth and Justice Coalition filed malversation complaints at the Office of the Ombudsman against former President Benigno Aquino III and other officials and lawmakers from his administration in connection with the release of Disbursement Acceleration Program funds in 2011.

TJC President and Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission Commissioner Greco Belgica said they filed 274 counts of malversation pertaining to the 139 congressmen and 21 senators who received the first tranche and 95 congressmen and 19 senators for the second tranche of DAP funds.

Aside from Aquino, the other officials named by Belgica as respondents are 

- former Budget and Management Secretary Butch Abad
- former Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas,
- former Cavite Rep. and House Appropriations Committee Chair Joseph Emilio Abaya,
- Senator and former Senate Finance Committee Chair Franklin Drilon, 
- Senator Antonio Trillanes, 
- former Budget and Management Undersecretary Mario Relampagos and 
- Director Yolanda Doblon.

In a statement, Belgica said the complaints should not be construed as an attack against the opposition.

Only senators Drilon and Trillanes were named by Belgica as respondents even if other senators and other congressmen supposedly received DAP funds as well.

“It just so happened that the evidence gathered by the coalition has pinned down the named respondents. Note that the complaint also refers to several John Does,” Belgica said. 

Belgica said Abaya and Drilon participated in the malversation scheme as they were the finance heads of the two branches of legislature while Roxas had “clandestine” meetings with senators.

Trillanes was included as respondent as he was granted amnesty by former President Aquino, aside from receiving DAP funds and implementing alleged ghost projects.

“The amnesty, ghost project and the project not listed in the Fil-Chinese Chamber of Commerce website are matters that distinguish Senator Trillanes from the rest of the DAP recipient senators who voted for the conviction of CJ Corona,” Belgica said.

Belgica said they charged the respondents with malversation “because there was no law authorizing the cross-border transfer which in itself is a blatant violation of the Constitution.”

He also said the funds were “used to influence the legislators to impeach and convict former Chief Justice Renato Corona” as stated by former senators Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla in privilege speeches delivered at the Senate.

In the complaint, Belgica said between October 25, 2011 and December 8, 2011 or 4 days before Corona was impeached, a total of 124 congressmen received DAP funds with a total amount of P1.565 billion.

When the articles of impeachment were received by the Senate, P7.322 billion worth of Special Release Allotment Orders were supposedly released to 11 senators, while a total of P1.975 billion DAP funds were allegedly released to 21 senators from November 16, 2011 to December 22, 2011.

In 2015, the Supreme Court affirmed its 2014 ruling declaring cross-border allotments as unconstitutional.

Belgica said in the complaint that his group is hoping that the Ombudsman will file formal charges against the respondents as they took advantage of their positions, “with the employment of craft, fraud and disguise.”