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Palace to Ombudsman: Probe Drilon, LPs in pork scam

Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged brains behind the claimed P10 billion pork barrel scam is now talking—but still not quite baring all of it, as she stated in a radio interview with Erwin Tulfo that she had given a P5 million donation for then Senate president, now Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon’s campaign kitty.

This was denied by Drilon, saying this is “fake news.”
Malacañang yesterday urged the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice (DoJ) to probe Liberal Party (LP) Senator Drilon over his alleged role in the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, in a Palace briefing, said alleged “pork barrel queen” Napoles’ new revelation should start the complete purge of politicians — stripped of the yellow brand of selective justice — who benefited from the multi-million scam exposed in 2013. It will be recalled that there clearly was the brand of selective justice even as the Commission on Audit special report where even the Liberal Party officials and members of the Senate also had their pork barrel allocations yet the then CoA chair, Grace Pulido Tan gave all the LP senators a free pass and protected them by zeroing in solely on three then opposition senators, Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla for a probe and charges of plunder by then Justice chief now detained Sen. Leila de Lima and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.

To this day, Morales has not started a pork barrel probe on Drilon and other LP senators and LP allies.
The Palace official also bewailed former Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos’ apparent escape from the country amid 300 counts of pork barrel-related charges.
Napoles, in a report over state-run People’s Television Network (PTV-4) on Monday night, claimed she contributed P5 million to Drilon’s 2010 senatorial bid’s kitty.
Drilon was Senate President when the pork barrel scam was uncovered.
“Drilon knows me and I even gave donations during the election, when he ran in the 2010 elections,” Napoles, who remains detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, said.
During the Senate hearings on the pork barrel issue, despite Drilon’s name being listed in the CoA report, he claimed he does not know Napoles nor has he ever dealt with her.
A litany of names was previously implied by Napoles, including allies of then President Benigno Aquino, but only three opposition Senators were zeroed in, charged and eventually got detained.
Two of them, former senators Enrile and Estrada are already out on bail while former senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla still legally struggles his way out of jail.
Roque said that the time has come for all those tagged to face the charges, regardless of their political affiliations.
“We expect the Ombudsman, on its own, and DoJ to have this allegation [from Napoles] investigated,” Roque said, adding that such moves should not be particularly on Drilon alone.
“We want the whole truth and nothing but the truth in this PDAF scam,” he added.
President Duterte, in a speaking engagement last year, said he will see to it that the crux of thematter surrounding the infamous pork barrel scam should be re-opened.
Critics of the Aquino administration then assailed the Ombudsman and the DoJ for being selective in prosecuting those tagged by Napoles.
The incumbent Ombudsman Morales who led the prosecution of Enrile, Estrada and Revilla is an appointee of then President Aquino.
As if the pendulum has shifted, then DoJ Secretary now Senator de Lima — who was also instrumental in the supposed filtering process of pork-tagged politicos — is currently detained over involvement in the illegal drugs trade.
Meanwhile, Roque lamented that Relampagos, who has scores of charges against him, went on a fugitive mode in the United States after failing to return to the Philippines after his supposed 31-day trip upon the approval of the Sandiganbayan.
Relampagos has been charged with more than 300 pork barrel and Malampaya fund scam-related cases among six out of seven divisions of the Sandiganbayan.
There are also 50 charges pending under preliminary investigation at the Office of the Ombudsman against him.
Relampagos’ lawyer Godofredo de Guzman, in a January 10 manifestation, explicitly said that his client can no longer bear the burden and has no plans of returning to the Philippines.
“Mr. Relampagos explained that he can no longer bear what he perceives as extreme injustice from which he is suffering and will certainly continue to suffer, which has brought and will continue to bring unimaginable burden on his family and himself,” de Guzman said.
The Sandiganbayan, in a resolution released last week, noted Relampagos is a “fugitive from justice.”
Palace official Roque said Relampagos’ move is “ evidence of admission of guilt.”
“If he is brave enough, he would not escape the country,” Roque said.
Roque hinted that the government is considering to have the fugitive former Budget official deported from the US.

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