At long last heads have started to roll and about time too. It has been a very slow process. Criminality and corruption are so entwined and intertwined in the Philippine Government that untwining these would take some time.
Janet Lim Napoles, the madam of the PDAF plunder, is no longer the lone person to be arrested for criminality against the Pork Barrel scandal.
She has been joined by Bong Revilla, her Pogi, who surrendered himself a few days ago.
Jinggoy Estrada, Janet Napoles’s Sexy, has also surrendered himself but was for a moment almost free to “walk” after Government lawyers bungled the case raised against him.
There are plenty more to come including Tanda Enrile and of course people who are under PNoy’s own party list and cronies. This would be a test for PNoy’s much talked about Daang Matuwid (Straight Path) away from corruption.
Who will join these three? Who else have taken advantage of the P10 Billion Pork Barrel? Where are Janet Napoles’s children?
We’ll just have to wait and see!
PDAF – The Rogues Gallery
Janet Lim – Napoles PDAF – Facilitator
Bong Revilla Napoles’ Pogi
Jinggoy Estrada Napoles’ Sexy
Juan Ponce Enrile Napoles’ Tanda
Jo Christine Napoles Still pending arrest
James Christopher Lim Napoles Still Pending arrest
The most likely suspect of the mysterious Ma’am Arlene was allegedly one called Arlene Lerma, the éminence grise of the judiciary. Lerma, though she doesn’t hold office at the judiciary, is known to exercises power and influence. Lerma is said to be in very friendly terms with judges and justices. These J&Js are for sale. With enough money to grease palms, verdicts can be facilitated in favour of Lerma’s moneyed clients. Justice can be a total joke and can be subjective. If you have enough money and knows Lerma and has her connections, you can dance around the laws of the land!
Just like those many before her( many she was the go between for) Lerma and her corrupt-a-minute transactions will probably not land her in jail because of her connections.
But know this Lerma, you are now out of the shadow!!!
MA’AM ARLENE’S ‘AMIGAS’ Arlene Angeles Lerma (in pink circle), alleged fixer in the judiciary, joins last year’s retirement party for a court official with members of the judiciary. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
A Supreme Court insider has identified the so-called “Ma’am Arlene” who was earlier described as “the Janet Lim-Napoles of the judiciary” for allegedly influencing court decisions in favor of her clients with huge payoffs to judges and justices.
The source said the alleged “decision-broker” in the judiciary was none other than Arlene Angeles Lerma.
Lerma is known to most of members of the judiciary, according to the Inquirer source who asked not to be identified for lack of authority to speak to the media.
The media earlier reported that there were three Arlenes who showered members of the judiciary with gifts and cash.
The source was among those called by the Supreme Court committee under Associate Justice Marvic Leonen investigating corruption in the judiciary.
“We know her because she also attends parties for retired judges and events, but she is not a member of the judiciary,” the source said.
The Supreme Court insider said he overheard Lerma in one party for members of the Philippine Judges Association (PJA) saying “Iniwan ko na yung pang raffle (I left something for the raffle).”
Lerma came with Manila Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso to the PJA party, the source said.
The source said Lerma was close to retired Deputy Court Administrator (DCA) Antonio Eugenio Jr., a former Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge.
RTC judges and Court of Appeals justices are known to issue temporary restraining orders (TRO) that adversely affect or benefit litigants. There are reports that these TROs can be bought.
The source confirmed that the photo obtained by Inquirer was taken at the retirement party of Eugenio last year.
“The party was attended by judges and DCAs and she (Lerma) was there,” he said.
Two-time PJA president
He said Lerma was a strong supporter of Eugenio who served as a two-time PJA president when he was a regional trial court judge.
The source described as “unprecedented” Eugenio’s feat as two-time PJA president.
Lerma’s name cropped up as the “influential person” during the recent election for PJA president in October.
Lerma allegedly bankrolled the election of PJA officers and held parties for members of the judiciary.
Supreme Court Administrator Midas Marquez, who conducted an initial investigation of the alleged vote-buying in the PJA election, earlier said he had asked the three candidates vying for the leadership of the PJA to explain allegations of irregularities during the election.
The PJA candidates for president were Judge Ralph Lee of Quezon City (who won the presidency), Judge Rommel Baybay of Makati City and Judge Felix Reyes of Marikina City.
Hotel bookings, trips
Arlene reportedly booked 50 rooms in a high-class hotel for the judges and their spouses during the election and gave expensive bags and trips overseas as gifts.
Marquez has issued a circular reminding judges to conduct themselves properly during PJA elections and listed prohibited acts.
Isko kid’s godmother
Domagoso acknowledged that he knew Lerma, a godmother of one of his children.
“I never denied it. She’s my friend. She’s my neighbor in Balut, Tondo,” the vice mayor told the Inquirer in a phone interview.
Asked if he went with her to a party of the PJA, he said, “many times.”
He said he knew Lerma as an “ordinary, simple woman” who is a sister of a barangay chair.
“She has no business. She’s employed in a company,” Domagoso said.
He couldn’t recall her specific job and company.
Asked if he was aware of the alleged case-fixing activities of Lerma, Domagoso said, “As far as I’m concerned, I don’t know that’s she’s into [case] fixing. I have a high respect for the members of the judiciary. I don’t think that is happening nowadays.”
Lerma has been likened to Napoles, the alleged mastermind behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam. Napoles, along with Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla, and other lawmakers, has been charged with plunder and malversation in the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly pocketing millions of pesos from the Priority Development Assistance Fund, a pork barrel.
MANILA, Philippines – Congressmen cautioned Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. yesterday on the supposed “bombshell” on the pork barrel fund scam that the two are scheduled to explode in privilege speeches this week.
Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. of Dasmariñas City in Cavite said the plan of the two to target their own Senate colleagues and possibly some members of the House of Representatives “is not a defense on their part.”
“Targeting your own colleagues after you have been charged with plunder is not a defense. It’s more like an admission of wrongdoing on your part,” he said.
Barzaga is one of the leaders of the National Unity Party, which groups former Lakas members. He chairs the House committee on games and amusement. NUP is part of the Liberal Party-led majority coalition in the House.
Though Barzaga started his congressional stint in 2007, he is not mentioned in the Commission on Audit (COA) special report on the use of pork barrel funds between 2007 and 2009.
He has confined the use of his funds to his district mostly on infrastructure projects, scholarships and medical assistance.
According to the COA report, Estrada, Revilla, and Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Gregorio Honasan gave P1.1 billion to nongovernment organizations (NGOs) linked to alleged pork barrel scam brains Janet Lim-Napoles during the three-year period covered by the audit.
Estrada, Revilla and Enrile have been charged with plunder before the Ombudsman’s office, along with Napoles. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) claims the three senators received from the Napoles NGOs P581 million in kickbacks. They deny any wrongdoing.
Estrada will reportedly mention senators and House members named in the COA report but against whom no charges have been filed yet.
Barzaga said there is no need for Estrada and Revilla to expose their own colleagues’ alleged misdeeds in their planned privilege speeches.
“The pork barrel scam investigation is not yet complete, and President Aquino has promised that nobody would be spared and cases would be filed against anybody to whomsoever the evidence will lead,” he said.
He said lawmakers who repeatedly gave funds to bogus NGOs should instead explain why they did so.
For his part, Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora said senators who have been accused of misusing their pork barrel funds should prepare for their defense instead of resorting to mud throwing.
“If they are accused of using fake NGOs, they should prove that these NGOs are not fake. If the accusation is that their funds went to non-existent beneficiaries, they should disprove that by producing genuine beneficiaries,” he said.
Zamora said senators should also explain why they “bunched” their PDAF together in some common beneficiary-towns and Napoles NGOs.
Political analysts said Estrada and Revilla are apparently working on a “burn the house down” scenario.
“The opposition already forewarned the public of a bombshell on Monday. They have been saying that from the day (Justice) Secretary (Leila) de Lima brought the so-called ‘truckloads of evidence’ on the Napoles pork barrel scam to the Ombudsman,” said professor Benito Lim, who teaches political science at Ateneo.
“It is completely cynical on our part if we say or declare that all of them are corrupt. If the majority there are corrupt, the house will go down. But if it’s just a few, the institution will survive,” he said.
Lim raised the possibility that Estrada and Revilla are planning to target their colleagues to divert public attention and scrutiny away from them.
Another Ateneo professor, Benjamin Muego, said any bombshell would become a dud if it does not result in the filing of charges, prosecution and conviction of those implicated in irregularities.
Barzaga also defended Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales for giving her office a one-year deadline to evaluate the evidence against those accused in the pork barrel scam and to file charges with the Sandiganbayan.
“Considering the truckloads of evidence as described by Secretary De Lima and the number of transactions involved, I would earnestly say that the statement of the Ombudsman that she would finish the preliminary investigation in one year is very reasonable,” he said.
Barzaga, a practicing lawyer-accountant for many years, said the Ombudsman’s office has the legal obligation to conduct preliminary investigation to determine the existence of probable cause before filing of criminal cases with the Sandiganbayan.
“The respondents, in the course of the preliminary investigation, have the right under the Constitution to be informed of the nature of the accusation against them,” he added.
Sen. Revilla’s lawyer Joel Bodegon said his client is ready to defend himself and the senator will rebut all allegations hurled by whistleblower Benhur Luy and the NBI.
Revilla is set to deliver his privilege speech to give his side over allegations.
The senator will likely discuss how the PDAF is disposed by the Department of Budget and Management and the disbursement of the Malampaya funds, which is directly under the control of Malacañang, Bodegon said.
Bodegon said the Malampaya fund scam – involving over P900 million in fund alleged misuse – is purely under control of the executive department, particularly the Office of the President, the DBM, and implementing agencies.
He said the senator will likely also speak about how he is being pilloried as a criminal by the present Aquino administration over the pork barrel fund use.
Bodegon said that prior to the attacks, the NBI raided his Cavite mansion on purported reports that there were armed men at his house at the height of the May elections.
Revilla has been at odds with the Palace especially during the recently concluded elections when President Aquino and the administration backed Team PNoy coalition supported the gubernatorial bid of his political rival Ayong Maliksi, who lost in the last polls. – With Edu Punay, Christina Mendez
Well about time too. Huli man daw at magaling maihahabol din.
What we need now, is a strong stomach and even stronger heart to combat these wily thieves. Let us not be derailed from our goal of seeing justice served.
I hope a few tears will not soften our hearts. Revilla is an actor, he can act. And Jinggoy dabbled in acting too once? These guys come from acting families. Don’t be taken with their heartbreaking contrition. So let us focus on our end game and not admire a FAMAS performance. Remember acting is not real life!!! LOL
Don’t put pity before justice when dealing with Enrile either. I know he is getting on a bit and I heard he is in hospital for high blood pressure. I say too much pork, that what is getting him in the end.
I hope this case will be action in the most thorough and hasty way.
Let us get our money back and throw these criminals in jail.
NBI files plunder against 3 senators, several others
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed plunder charges against Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada, and Juan Ponce Enrile for allegedly conniving with businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles in pocketing billions of taxpayers money through dubious non-government organizations (NGOs) and foundations.
But it took the NBI a week to prepare the technical aspect of the complaint as the bureau agents tasked to investigate the P10 Pork Barrel Scam needed to photo copy dozens of documentary evidence, most of which are letters from the offices of the three senators telling implementing agencies which foundations should get their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), and bank records.
“Each complaint would outline the specifics of those series of overt acts, why we think those acts fall under plunder,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said in a news conference.
Aside from Senators Revilla, Estrada, and Enrile, the NBI included former congressman Rizalina Seachon-Lanete of Masbate’s third district, who allowed her pork to be used 13 times, and former Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC) representative Edgar Valdez.
Several chiefs of staff and representatives of the lawmakers were also included in the plunder complaint filed by the NBI, namely Jessica “Gigi” Reyes , chief of staff of Enrile; Richard Cambe, COS of Revilla; Ruby Tuazon, aide of Enrile and Estrada; Pauline Labayen, staff of Estrada; Jose Sumalpong, COS of Lanete; Janet dela Cruz, district staff of Lanete, Erwin Dangwa, COS of Dangwa; and Carlos Lozada, staff of Dangwa.
The NBI also included former National Agribusiness Corporation president Allan Javellana; Technological Research Center (TRC) director general Dennis Cunanan; ex-TRC director general Antonio Ortiz; Department of Agriculture (DA) Assistant Secretary for Fisheries and former ZNAC Rubber Estates Corp. (ZREC) president Salvador Salacup; and National Livelihood Development Corporation president Gondolina Amata in the plunder complaint.
Presidents of Napoles’ foundations, namely Jocelyn Curato, Nemecio Pablo, John Raymond de Asis, Evelyn de Leon, Ronald John Lim, are also among those charged.
Meanwhile, violations of Malversation of Public Funds, and Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act were filed by the NBI against former Agusan del Sur congressman Rodolfo Plaza, former Benguet representative Samuel Dangwa (Benguet), and former Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Constantino Jaraula.
It was learned that the bureau used at least one million bond papers to document all the evidence which were turned over to the bureau by 16 witnesses, led by pork barrel scam whistleblower Benhur Luy.
“Ipinapakita dito sa mga dokumento na ito na may attempt i-circumvent yung batas kasi wala namang bidding. Itong mga dokumento na ito ay yung mga paper trail na sinasabi namin before magli-link sa mga sangkot sa scam na ito [The documents would show attempts to circumvent the law sans public bidding. These documents consist of paper trail that would link the accused in the scam],” Luy’s lawyer, Levito Baligod said in an ambush interview hours before the filing of plunder charges against the three Senators.
He said the presidents of the NGOs, who are all Napoles aides, wrote the banks “to debit the account of the foundation and credit the account of the lawmaker.”
Baligod also noted lawmakers could be found guilty of plunder for being negligent with taxpayers’ money. “To prove plunder, you only need to prove beyond reasonable doubt certain covert acts that may not be criminal in nature but are indicative of a scheme to siphon the money,” he said.