MANILA, July 7 (Mabuhay) – The National Bureau of Investigation has started investigating reports that even Disbursement Acceleration Program funds ended up in bogus non-government organizations under Janet Lim Napoles, Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said on Monday.
De Lima said the first who would be investigated would be the five lawmakers who had been reported to have channeled their allocations under President Benigno Aquino III’s DAP to Napoles’ foundations.
“We’re investigating that already. The NBI is investigating those… the alleged use of DAP funds through Napoles NGOs, as claimed by (pork barrel fund scam whistleblower) Benhur Luy,” said De Lima.
“All that I am saying is that… that (DAP issue) is being investigated already by the NBI… doon sa five senators,” she said.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer earlier reported that whistleblower Benhur Luy and Merlina Suñas were ready to execute affidavits on how P425 million in DAP funds – allocated to Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Ramon Revilla Jr. and Vicente Sotto III – found their way to Napoles’ non-government organizations.
The whistleblowers’ lawyer Raji Mendoza was quoted as saying that the affidavits would show that the DAP funds were subjected to the same methods as in the pork barrel scam, wherein billions of pesos in public funds were converted into fat kickbacks for the lawmakers, Napoles, her agents and line agency officials.
“We have the documents on that already. We are evaluating… whether we have cases against those senators and, if confirmed, then what to do about it,” De Lima said.
She added that the Department of Justice would later decide whether to refer the case to the Ombudsman or have the NBI file a separate case on it.
De Lima said among the “basic documents” already in investigators’ possession were special allotment release orders.
She, however, said she was not yet aware if the NBI had already finished gathering all necessary documents, including a separate sworn statement from Luy on the matter of the DAP.
Enrile, Estrada, and Revilla are all facing separate charges of plunder and graft for the alleged diversion of the millions of pesos of their Priority Development Assistance Fund allocations to Napoles’ NGOs.
“Kapag may ganoong allegations that means may allegation of misuse hindi ba? Kasi for all the good intentions that DAP had been envisioned, na-recognize naman talaga yan sa decision ng Supreme Court, ito nakikita natin na nalalaman natin na mayroon pa lang ilan-ilan uli na yung nagmi-misuse dahil gumamit na naman ng Napoles NGOs,” De Lima said.
De Lima was referring to the high court’s decision last week that declared as unconstitutional acts and practices under the DAP.
She said the investigating panel on the DAP issue was aslo being supervised by Justice Undersecretary Jose Justiniano, who also oversaw the panel separately probing the Napoles-related pork barrel fund anomalies. (MNS)