MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice has started its reinvestigation into the misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the alleged irregularities in the use of public funds under the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) during the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III.
On Tuesday, Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II designated Undersecretary Antonio T. Kho Jr. as head of the PDAF/DAP Scam Task Force.
Kho, Lex Talionis Fraternity brother of Aguirre and President Rodrigo Duterte, “shall have overall supervision and oversight over all stages of the investigation and any other proceedings that may result therefrom, including those before the Office of the Ombudsman…and those pending before the Sandiganbayan,” the DOJ chief said in his June 27 department order.
Earlier, alleged PDAF racket queen Janet Lim-Napoles said she would file fresh pork scam charges against Duterte critics senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV and and former Budget chief Florencio Abad.
Last May, Aguirre said that under the present administration, the department would make sure that all of those accused in the PDAF and DAP scams would be slapped with charges.
“Pag nag-investigate tayo and he appears to be guilty, kasama sila…kahit anong partido [When we investigate and he appears to be guilty, he would be included…regardless of the political party he belongs to],” the DOJ chief said.
Aguirre criticized his predecessor, detained Sen. De Lima, for filing charges only against a few politicians while she was DOJ chief even when there were many others allegedly linked to the pork barrel scam.
“Hundreds of people appear to be responsible and yet tatlo lang nafile-an mo [you only filed cases against three persons],” said Aguirre, apparently referring to former senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.
Last March, Pastor Saycon, secretary of the Council for Philippine Affairs, handed to Aguirre documents that he said were proofs of his allegation that former President Aquino and other officials during his administration mostly from the Liberal Party benefitted from corrupt activities by receiving payola from Napoles.
Among the documents that Saycon turned over to Aguirre were copies of acknowledgment receipts of Napoles’ supposed 2010 poll campaign contribution to Aquino and the LP, which were allegedly signed by the former President.
Saycon claimed that the contributions were given to Aquino and his party through Napoles’ brother Reginald Lim. But he said Aquino allegedly did not include Napoles’ contribution to his 2010 campaign kitty in his statement of contributions and expenditures that he submitted to the Commission on Elections.