MANILA (Mabuhay) – Justice Secretary Leila de Lima confirmed Wednesday there will be more congressmen included in the 2nd batch of cases to be filed in connection with the P10 billion pork barrel scam.
De Lima said the second batch of cases was finalized after meticulously going over the evidence provided by the whistle-blowers and other sources. She said the slow process led to the delay in the filing of the cases.
“We cannot yet tell you dun sa second batch. More on congressmen. Hinihimay namin ng maayos yung ebidensya. Yung talagang i-go-go naming, talagang kumpleto,” she said.
Lawyer Levito Baligod, counsel of the pork scam whistle-blowers, earlier bared that more or less 10 lawmakers will be part of the second batch of respondents, compared to only 5 during the first batch.
Asked if administration allies will be among those who will be charged, Baligod said they are not looking at party lines, rather, on the strength of evidence in the possession of the whistle-blowers.
She said the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council will first pore over the evidence in cases where the evidence is weak.
De Lima said National Bureau of Investigation probers also had difficulty getting documents on transactions covering 2004-2006.
“Yung madaling makuha ay period 2007-2009 kasi covered na yang Commission on Audit report. So yung mga source documents ay really there. Yung iba nahihirapan pa,” she said.
The Department of Justice earlier filed plunder, graft, bribery and malversation cases at the Ombudsman against businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles and 37 others linked to the P10 billion pork barrel scam.
Included in the charges were 3 senators – Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile and Bong Revilla – 5 congressmen and 30 others.
Napoles is accused of masterminding the alleged scam that saw billions of pesos in priority development assistance funds (PDAF) being funneled to fake non-government organizations that she set up.
Meanwhile, De Lima said a third batch of cases to be filed before the Office of the Ombudsman will involve non-PDAF projects that were also coursed through Napoles-linked NGOs.
She also rejected a proposal to tap Napoles as a state witness, saying that the cases can stand without her testimony.
“As of the moment, we don’t need her. We have enough independent evidence to really make the charges stick in court. Independent evidence outside of any admission on the part of Mrs. Napoles or outside of any proffered testimony from her or any proffered tell-all testimony from her,” she said.
“Of course that is the most ideal scenario for her to really tell all, with our without any offer of immunity, with or without any conditions. That would be really ideal. Bonus na bonus na yun,” she added.(MNS)