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.
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.
Janet Lim-Napoles’ dummy groups secured millions of pesos worth of questionable livelihood projects under the Aquino administration from the pork barrel funds of at least six senators last year, according to a 2012 report of the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
The reports on the websites of the COA and the DBM showed that the activities of Napoles, the alleged mastermind behind a P10-billion swindling scheme, went on not only for much of the graft-ridden administration of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo but also continued well into the “daang matuwid” regime of President Aquino.
Mentioned in the reports were Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon Revilla Jr., Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Vicente Sotto III and Loren Legarda. They allegedly allowed the nongovernment organizations (NGOs) controlled by Napoles access to their allocations under the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
All six senators denied any wrongdoing.
The PDAF, or pork barrel, is meant to ease rural poverty and provide relief to storm victims, among many others. In many cases, however, the PDAF has become a source of kickbacks for lawmakers.
In the 2012 reports of COA and the DBM, Estrada gave P63 million of his PDAF to the Napoles NGOs in four local government units (LGUs), Marcos, P40 million to four towns, Legarda, P25 million to three LGUs, Sotto, P20 million to two LGUs, Revilla, P20 million to two towns and Enrile, P10 million to one municipality.
In previous reports by whistle-blowers to the National Bureau of Investigation that the Inquirer published in July and the COA special audit from 2007 to 2009, only senators in the opposition were mentioned, giving rise to criticism that they were the object of an administration “demolition” job. The accusers said the schemes generated kickbacks of up to 70 percent.
But the 2012 audit report said Legarda, an administration ally, had authorized P5 million of her PDAF allocation for the distribution of farm products for high-value crops in Dinalupihan and P10-million allotment in Pilar, both in Bataan province, coursed through Napoles’ NGO People’s Organization for Progress (POPDF).
In the Dinalupihan project, the POPDF was also endorsed as the implementing agency of Enrile (P10 million) and Estrada (P23 million).
The audit commission said a review of the fund transferred to the NGO amounting to P38 million from the three senators disclosed that the LGU in Dinalupihan had “failed to submit the necessary supporting documents needed upon the release, implementation and liquidation of funds as required by the COA.”
It said there was “no final utilization report, no liquidation report, no warranty for procurement of farm supplies.”
The COA said that the rules on procurement under Republic Act No. 9184 were disregarded in the Dinalupihan program. It said documentary requirements on the liquidation of funds were either insufficient or incomplete, in violation of COA Circular No. 2012-001 dated June 14, 2012.
“The offices of Estrada, Enrile and Legarda allocated to the municipality P38 million from their PDAF as per various Saros (statement of allotment release orders from the DBM) for the implementation of livelihood projects. Attached to the voucher was a letter of request that the project be implemented by the People’s Organization for Progress and Development Foundation,” it said.
Estrada’s PDAF allocations for Dinalupihan came in three tranches with Saros attached—P5 million for 137 organic agrarian implement packages at P36,450 each, P10 million in 487 high-value yield enhancement packages each costing P20,500, and P8 million in farm inputs and implements at P20,500 per package.
Enrile’s P10-million pork barrel went to 487 high-value yield enhancement packages at P20,500 each, and Legarda’s P5 million for a similar deal.
Aside from Legarda’s endorsement of P10 million of her pork barrel funds to the POPDF livelihood project in Pilar, the COA said the NGO there also secured authorization to use another P10 million from Revilla’s pork allocation, P10 million from Marcos and P5 million from Estrada.
Here, the COA said that the P35 million in total funds to the Pilar LGU was released even before memorandums of agreement (MOAs) could be notarized. “Distribution of goods could not be ascertained,” it said.
The POPDF was “identified and designated by the concerned senator to expedite the implementation of the project” in Pilar, the COA said.
“Thus, the validation of the disbursements of Priority Development Assistance Funds cannot be made,” the report said.
The COA said that in San Antonio, Nueva Ecija province, a postaudit of transactions disclosed that 10 vouchers amounting to P90 million for livelihood projects were coursed through three Napoles NGOs—Countrywide and Rural Economic Development, Ginintuang Alay sa Magsasaka Foundation and Kaupdanan Mangunguma Foundation Inc.
“[The] funds were received by the LGU through the initiative of different senators from their PDAF, but were disbursed to NGOs/PO (public organizations) without complete supporting documents. This practice does not conform with Section 2 of COA Circular No. 2012-001 dated June 14, 2012.
The senators were not named in the COA report, but the Department of Budget and Management website of last year showed that Estrada had coursed P15 million of his PDAF allocation to San Antonio, Sotto P15 million, Revilla P10 million, Legarda P10 million, and Marcos P10 million.
The audit commission said that P30 million in PDAF funds went to Calasiao in Pangasinan province and implemented by Napoles’ Kaupdanan “for the implementation of livelihood projects for entrepreneurs and small farmers” from the PDAF allocations of “various senators” who likewise were unnamed.
“We noted that documents required in the COA circular dated June 25, 2007, were not attached to the disbursement vouchers,” it said. In addition, there were insufficient documents, including the certificate of Kaupdanan’s registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission, a copy of its articles of incorporation, financial reports audited by independent certified public accountants for the past three years, disclosure of its related businesses and a complete project proposal,” the commission said.
The DBM website showed Calasiao received disbursements of P5 million from Sotto’s PDAF and P10 million from Marcos.
The COA report also said Kaupdanan secured P47 million in livelihood projects for Sual, also in Pangasinan, which also lacked documentation.
It did not mention where the PDAF allocations came from, but the DBM website showed that P20 million of Estrada’s allocations went to Sual, along with P10 million from Marcos.