• Breaking News

    Monday, July 3, 2017

    LOOK: DOJ task force to reopen probe of 'pork barrel scam'

    Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, confirmed on Monday that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is about to launch a special task force to probe on the anomalous pork-barrel scam masterminded by Janet Lim Napoles. With Undersecretary Antonio Kho to spearhead the said task force, Aguirre assured that a thorough reinvestigation will take place.

    "Undersecretary Antonio Kho will head the special task force to correct “the miscarriage of justice” in the earlier probe of the diversion of billions of pesos from the Priority Development Assistance Fund conducted by the Aquino administration," Aguirre stated.

    He added, “The new panel replaces the National Bureau of Investigation task force created by former Justice Secretary and now detained Senator Leila de Lima that conducted the fact-finding probe on the PDAF scam during the Aquino administration, which led to the plunder indictment of former senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. and other lawmakers and executive officials before the Sandiganbayan."

    With Janet Lim Napoles’ submitted documents and affidavits, Aguirre had assured the public that the newly organized task force composed of prosecutors and NBI agents, will tackle the issue without any sense of “selective justice” as how it has been to the former.

    “Just like in the previous investigation, the statements and evidence will be validated through records from relevant implementing agencies and the Commission on Audit. But this time, we can assure the public that there will be no selective justice--unlike what happened in the previous administration,” Aguirre said.

    The catch was, Justice Secretary Aquirre had named three senators which, according to Napoles’ statement written on her affidavit, had been precariously involved in the pork-barrel negotiations.

    Aguirre said that Napoles has tagged Senators Franklin Drilon, Antonio Trillanes IV and Leila de Lima in the anomaly as revealed by David during their meeting last month.

    Apart from lawmakers, Aguirre said that Napoles also tagged at least two executive officials in the previous administration.

    One of them, as revealed by Aguirre was the former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad who, according to Napoles, was her mentor and instigator of the anomaly.

    It can be recalled that in Aguirre’s previous interviews he expressed his utmost intention and consideration to tap Napoles as a state witness for the pending pork-barrel cases which are yet to be filed. Aguirre also expressed his desire to impose necessary and appropriate sanctions to several government officials whenever their involvement to the scam is justified.

    The Secretary of Justice has also hinted that Napoles might be used as state witness in the PDAF reinvestigation, believing that the government officials behind the scam should be considered the most guilty per jurisprudence set by the Supreme Court.

    The reinvestigation on PDAF scam came after the Court of Appeals acquitted Napoles earlier this month in the illegal detention case filed by pork barrel scam whistleblower Benhur Luy before the Makati regional trial court.

    Napoles remains in detention since she is still facing plunder, graft and malversation charges before the Sandiganbayan, along with former Estrada, Revilla and Enrile.

    Source: Manila Standard
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