Home » Article » Senate pork barrel scam probe continues

Senate pork barrel scam probe continues

Published Sept. 12, 2013, 9:51 p.m. PHT

Last updated Sept. 13, 2013, 8:39 a.m. PHT

Filed under

Senator Teofisto Guingona III

Senator Teofisto "TG" Guingona III

The Senate blue ribbon committee’s investigation on the alleged P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam continued on Thursday, September 12.

Principal whistleblower Benhur Luy appeared before the Senate and narrated Janet Lim-Napoles’ dealings with lawmakers from both houses of Congress.

Luy shared that Napoles put up at least 20 nongovernmental organizations—8 are involved in PDAF projects while the 12 received funding from the Malampaya fund.

Luy clarified that while majority of the funds are divided among Napoles, the lawmakers and some officials of the implementing agencies, a small portion of the PDAF were still spent for actual projects.

Luy also revealed that, in most cases, a lawmaker would get 50 percent of the total project cost. Napoles would have a 40 percent share while their contacts in the implementing agency would receive the remaining 10 percent. But he added that Napoles could get as much as 55 percent.

Luy added that he was authorized by Napoles to forge signatures of some lawmakers. He said that the lawmakers would even acknowledged the forged signatures later on.

Luy served as Napoles’ aide beginning 2002.

‘Pleasantly surprised’

Senator Teofisto Guingona III, chair of the committee, said that he was “pleasantly surprised” by Luy’s appearance.

Guingona added that Justice Secretary Leila De Lima initially told him Wednesday afternoon that whistleblowers would not attend the hearing. But De Lima changed her mind at the last minute and allowed Luy to attend the Senate probe despite numerous security threats leveled against the whistleblower.

After the 4-hour session, Guingona concluded that Luy is credible and described the latter’s testimony as “believable.”

The blue ribbon committee will still discuss if additional hearings are needed.

Meticulous, not slow

De Lima told the committee that the Department of Justice will file charges against Napoles and others linked to the scam on Monday, September 16.

But De Lima also took the opportunity to address critics of her office and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

“[The] NBI is not slow. It is simply meticulous and exercises due diligence in this approach because this is a criminal investigation not a political witch hunt,” De Lima said.