Manhunt on for ‘pork scammers’

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014


MANILA - Police are searching for 13 more people tagged in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) anomaly, days after the Sandiganbayan issued warrants of arrest against them.

Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, head of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Public Information Office, said the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) is currently conducting manhunt operation against the co-accused of Senators Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada in the plunder and graft charges.

The two lawmakers surrendered on separate occasions after the court signed the arrest warrants against them and their co-accused.

Revilla surrendered to the Sandiganbayan while Estrada surrendered to his father, former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, who later on yielded him to the CIDG in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Sindac said Estrada and Revilla's co-accused namely Pauline Therese Mary Labayen, John Raymund De Asis, Romulo Relevo, Antonio Ortiz, Emmanuel Alexis Sevidal, Sofia Cruz, Evelyn Sucgang, Ronal John Lim, Myla Ogerio, Laarni Uy, Allan Javellana, Maria Julie Villaralvo-Johnson and Ofelia Ordonez remain at large.

"Nung Monday nagsimula na ilunsad ng CIDG ang tracker teams para hanapin mga unaccounted for, lahat ng kapulisan bibigyan ng kopya ng warrant," said Sindac. "Kami nanawagan na sana sumuko na lang sila para mas maging magaan ang magiging proseso kesa humantong tayo sa hindi maganda at magkakahulihan pa."

Sindac, meanwhile, said the detained senators were in a good condition.

"Nakausap ko si Senator Bong maayos naman daw siya, may mga halaman na siya na dinidiligan niya palagi umaga at hapon, generally adjusted naman na daw silang dalawa sa loob," he said.

Revilla and Estrada stay in separate detention cell inside the PNP Custodial Center but they share a common area where they can walk, talk and move freely.

Revilla told Sindac that he did not complain of the rats and roaches inside his cell during his first night in detention. "Ever since wala naman daw siyang complaints nagbiro lang daw and lawyer niya," Sindac told reporters.

Arraignment

Revilla is set for arraignment on Thursday, June 26, while Estrada's arraignment is scheduled on Monday, June 30.

Revilla allegedly pocketed P224-million in kickbacks by allegedly channeling his PDAF allocations to the bogus non-government organizations of Janet Napoles, the scam's alleged mastermind.

Sindac said the CIDG has already prepared the security details for Thursday's scheduled arraignment of Revilla and Napoles.

Napoles is now detained at Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna for alleged serious illegal detention of PDAF scam main whistleblower Benhur Luy.

Heightened security has been implemented at the Sandiganbayan since Wednesday for the court appearances of Revilla and Napoles.

Sandiganbayan Executive Clerk of Court Renato Bocan said a few seats will be allotted to the members of media due to limited space and bringing of electronic devices inside the courtroom is prohibited. The court earlier said it won't allow live media coverage of the trial.

In a related development, accused in the graft charges led by Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, Rosario Nuñez, Lalaine Paule and Marilou Bare on Wednesday filed omnibus motion to dismiss their cases by asking court to recall warrants of arrest against them and to defer their arraignment pending the resolution of their motion.

The accused stressed the charges against them are baseless and unfounded. "Clearly, the Ombudsman is trying in vain to make a case against the movants out of nothing," the accused said.

Other Revilla's co-accused in the graft cases were Technology Resource Center executives Antonio Ortiz, Dennis Cunanan, Francisco Figura, Ma. Rosalinda Lacsamana, Marivic Jover and Consuelo Espiritu; National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC) officers Gondelina Amata, Emmanuel Sevidal, Ofelia Ordoñez, Sofia Cruz, Chita Jalandoni and Gregoria Buenaventura.

Also include where National Agribusiness Corporation officials Allan Javellana, Rhodora Mendoza, Encarnita Munsod, Maria Villaralvo-Johnson, Victor Cacal and Maria Guanizo; Napoles employees Jocelyn Piorato, Evelyn de Leon, Myla Ogerio, Eulogio Rodriguez and Laarni Uy and Evelyn Sucgang. (Sunnex)

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