MANILA, Philippines – A day after the massive protest at Luneta Park, now comes into the picture the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council (IAAGCC) that vowed for a thorough investigation against the alleged misuse of P10-billion pork barrel.
The inter-agency body lead by the Office of the Ombudsman works hand-in-hand with the Commission on Audit (COA), Office of the President, the Justice and Finance Departments and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the COA’s reports with questionable records in 2007-2009 to come up with suitable charges against the perpetrators.
“There is no reason why we can’t come up with correct finding. There are hundred ways to establish evidence and prove a case,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said.
However, despite of the COA’s special reports that came out on August 16, which was made public by Pulido Tan, stating that more than P6 billion of Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) of some legislators went to 82 NGOs with doubtful records, still, it will not be used as evidence in building a case in court but can be used a major reference.
“It will serve as basis for the gathering of supporting documentary evidence,” de Lima explained.
In addition, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales guaranteed that the joint investigation will disregard any political position of the persons linked to the controversial pork barrel.
She also pleads to the public for patience as the investigation and building up a case would take time.
“It is always difficult to fix a timetable. We are wary of the tendency that, because of (time) pressure, the result would not be that good… half baked. But we assure that with this inter-agency effort, best and earnest efforts would be applied to ensure the best and just results,” de Lima said.
The composition of IAAGCC started in 1999 which covers prevention, detection and prosecution of graft cases.
A separate inquiry of the National Bureau of Investigation is currently processing a case that will be filed to some legislators on the alleged abuse of the PDAF.
“The cases that will be filed by the NBI, some lawmakers will be included pending the evidence that will be gathered. The NBI is organizing the documentary support before filing the case. It will include already some lawmakers,” de Lima said.
Moreover, documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of Budget and Management and the Anti-Money Laundering Council have been requested by Morales to trace the important documents by the Department of Finance (DOF), NBI, Civil Service Commission and the Office of the President.
On the other hand, de Lima said that no signs have found out that Janet Lim-Napoles, who spearheads a system of the fake projects and not existing organizations collecting pork, have left the Philippines.
“All existing leads that have been gathered point to the fact that they are still here but they are hiding,” De Lima said.
Faye Michelle Regis
ABCom, Leyte Normal University