Start filing charges vs ‘pork’ scam respondents, Ombud urged

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Saturday, March 22, 2014


SENATOR Miriam Defensor Santiago on Saturday urged the Office of the Ombudsman to file plunder charges against officials who are allegedly involved in the pork barrel scam before the public interest wanes.

"I think it will be best if the Ombudsman could at least file some of the cases in court now because the public is getting jaded with the revelations in the Senate probe plus they are not seeing any action," Santiago said.

"We don't want public interest to die on this matter," she added, noting that the Ombudsman has received the first batch of plunder and malversation complaints six months ago.

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In September of last year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) accused alleged pork scam queen Janet Lim-Napoles, Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., and Juan Ponce Enrile of plunder and malversation. Some 34 others were also named in the charge sheet.

A month later, the DOJ filed the second batch of cases over the supposed misuse of P900 million in Malampaya funds. Named in the charge sheet were officials in the previous administration, including former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Meanwhile, Santiago thinks there is a conspiracy among high-level officials in the Department of Agriculture (DA) in relation to the National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor) scam.

"There has to be a conspiracy here because you see plunder. We have to know what exactly is the modus operandi," Santiago said.

The senator previously filed Senate Resolution 575 directing the Blue Ribbon committee to former Nabcor officials Vic Cacal and Rhodora Mendoza to the ongoing pork scam hearings.

According to Cacal and Mendoza, a total of P1.7 billion in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) was coursed through questionable non-government organizations (NGOs) from 2007 to 2009.

"If the conspiracy began from the very top, then you need extreme measures because subordinates normally will not have the courage to fight against a project that began from the office," Santiago said. (Sunnex)

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