Sep 11, 2013

Whistleblowers in PDAF scam to submit plunder evidence vs Napoles, lawmakers

Whistleblowers in the pork barrel controversy will troop to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Wednesday to submit evidence of plunder against businesswoman Janet Napoles and several lawmakers including senators.

The whistleblowers' sworn statements and their annexes, about eight to 10 inches thick, will be used as evidence by the NBI, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Office of Ombudsman in filing plunder and malversation charges against Napoles and the legislators.

President Benigno Aquino on Tuesday told reporters "there is a possibility" that the plunder charges against Napoles would be filed on Friday.

Levito Baligod, the whistleblowers' counsel earlier told that, "We are optimistic that the affidavits will help the DOJ and the Ombudsman build up and strengthen cases against the accused. He added that his camp was hopeful that lawmakers found guilty of plunder or malversation charges "will be detained" for their misdeeds within Aquino's term.

The affidavits will allege, among others, that Napoles and the lawmakers skimmed off millions of pesos in public funds through a scheme involving bogus projects implemented by non-government organizations purportedly fabricated by Napoles.

Baligod on Monday declined to identify the lawmakers named in the affidavits.

The submission of the sworn statements to the DOJ has been delayed since some of the whistleblowers were trapped in Zamboanga City, said Levito Baligod, the whistleblowers' counsel.

Heavy fighting between rebels and government troops have led to class suspensions and flight cancellations to and from Manila and Zamboanga.

Three batches

The first of three batches of affidavits alleges that at least five legislators pocketed anywhere from P54 million to P200 million through a scheme involving fake projects implemented by the NGOs.

Five "subordinates" or "agents" of legislators who allegedly received money from Napoles on behalf of the lawmakers are also named in the first set of affidavits, according to Baligod.

Baligod said the second batch of affidavits would accuse at least 10 more lawmakers of malversation of funds, while the third batch would charge an indefinite number of lawmakers of the same wrongdoing. He said his camp's target would be to complete the submission of all affidavits by end of September.

The first batch of affidavits will include a matrix of the alleged financial transactions between Napoles' purported foundations and the lawmakers. Baligod said the matrix was based on the Excel spreadsheet files kept by main witness and former Napoles employee, Benhur Luy, in his external hard drive.

Luy's spreadsheets were based on Napoles and the foundations' alleged transactions with the lawmakers from 2004 to 2010 recorded through cash vouchers, which had three copies - the white voucher allegedly kept by the businesswoman, the pink kept by Benhur, and the yellow issued to the "customer or client."

The matrix contains the following pieces of information:
  • Name of the lawmakers
  • The projects of the allegedly non-existent NGOs funded through the lawmakers' PDAF
  • Alleged commission or kickbacks received by the lawmakers
  • Details of the Department of Budget and Management-issued special allotment release orders charged against the lawmakers' PDAF allocations
  • The recipients of the alleged kickbacks
  • When and where the alleged kickbacks were received by the lawmakers
  • How the alleged kickbacks were received (through bank transfers, issuance of checks, or personal delivery of cash)
The affidavits are backed up by documents relating to fund transfers and letters to banks "authorizing the branch to debit the account of a foundation and credit it to the account of the legislator," according to Baligod.

He said the details on the bank transactions and issuance of checks could be validated by comparing them to records being kept by the Anti-Money Laundering Council.

Baligod said there were congressmen named in the affidavits who had allegedly received kickbacks through checks and bank transactions while all accused senators allegedly pocketed kickbacks through personal delivery of cash.


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