Joel Villanueva

Is Joel Villanueva, director general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, on the verge of being exonerated from the pork barrel scam probe?

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said that the National Bureau of Investigation had found that most of the documents in Villanueva’s case bore signatures that were not his.

De Lima said that Villanueva was being investigated for his pork barrel allocations that were channeled to bogus nongovernment organizations of Janet Lim-Napoles.

“That’s an important factor that the questioned documents unit of the NBI had this kind of findings,” De Lima said when asked whether the NBI had cleared Villanueva of involvement in the scam.

“Many of the documents that were examined were not (signed) by the same hand,” she said via inquirer.

Told that key whistle-blower Benhur Luy said that he faked the signatures of lawmakers in going about the scam allegedly masterminded by Napoles, De Lima said it really depended on the documents that were forged.

She declined to comment what documents were found with fake signatures of Villanueva, a former Citizens Battle against Corruption representative, as NBI’s investigation is still on-going.

The Inquirer earlier said Villanueva was among 11 incumbent and former lawmakers who will be charged with malversation in the third and last batch of pork barrel cases related to the P10-billion pork barrel scam that the NBI would be filing in the Office of the Ombudsman.
On Monday, De Lima said the NBI was still evaluating the cases, including that of Villanueva.

“We are evaluating everything supposedly in the third batch… It’s being evaluated until we file cases,” De Lima said while adding that the evaluation would not take long to complete.

 

-DONNA ABIGAIL L. BULA

LNU, ABCom Intern

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