PODCAST: Revisiting the PDAF cases a year after
MANILA, Philippines – It’s been over a year since plunder complaints were filed with the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan against Janet Lim Napoles and 3 senators for their alleged involvement in an elaborate scam that misused the lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
The 3 senators – Juan Ponce Enrile, JInggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla – stand accused of having pocketed hundreds of millions of pesos in kickbacks, with Napoles facilitating the transactions with fake non-governmental organizations linked to her.
Thus far, the Department of Justice has filed cases against two batches of accused in relation to the PDAF scams. The second batch of complaints was filed in November 2013 before the Ombudsman against 34 individuals, including administration ally Rosanno “Ruffy” Biazon, who faces malversation charges. He was former Customs chief.
The filing of the third batch of complaints has been fraught with delays after Justice Secretary Leila de Lima was first reported as saying in May 2015 that they would be forthcoming.
On a more positive note, the US justice department recently filed a civil forfeiture complaint against Napoles to gain control over $12.5 million (about P565 million) worth of assets believed to be stolen from public funds. If successfully seized, they would be turned over to the Philippine government which sought US help.
What are the challenges facing the justice department in the PDAF scam cases, described as the biggest corruption case in recent Philippine history? What are the foreseeable scenarios, and are the cases expected to drag on?
Justice Undersecretary Jose Justiniano, who helped in the prosecution of former Supreme Court justice Renato Corona, has been deputized by the Ombudsman to act as special prosecutor in the PDAF cases. He sits down with Rappler's Chay F. Hofileña to share his thoughts. Let's listen to the podcast. – Rappler.com