Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Take On Cunanan As A Witness

 In the Pork Barrel Scam a conspiracy to commit plunder, malversation and other corruption charges is alleged.  The scheme was supposed to have been planned and committed by, between, and among Janet Napoles assisted by her staff and a bunch of co-conspirators led by certain lawmakers, officials of DBM and implementing agencies, and officers of fake NGOs.

The Operating Scheme (OS) as discovered and reported proceeded this way: 
1.         Napoles and lawmaker agree:          
            (a) Lawmaker promises to designate Napoles’ NGOs as the recipients of his PDAF.
            (b) Napoles promises to give 40-60% of the cash value of the project as kickback.
2.         Lawmaker first submits a list of projects to the DBM.
3.         DBM issues a SARO (Special Allotment Release Order) to the lawmaker.
4.         Lawmaker endorses a selected NGO for the implementation agency.
5.         Implementing agency, without any public bidding, enters into an MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) with the NGO for the   implementation of the project.
6.         Documentation is drawn up and completed.
7.         DBM issues a Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) to the implementing agency.
8.         Implementing agency receives NCA.
9.         Implementing agency issues a check to the Napoles NGO.
10.       JLN (Napoles NGO) employees deposit check.
11.       Cash withdrawn by employees.
12.       Cash delivered to Napoles.

Kickback Payments
1.    First payment (50%) in advance to the lawmaker upon submission of the project list to DBM. (See No. 2, Napoles OS)
2.    Second payment (50%) upon release of the SARO. (See No.3, Napoles OS)
3.    Chief-of-Staff of lawmaker or his representative who facilitates documents and follow ups with agencies for the lawmaker and Napoles gets 1-5% of the project cost
4.    Head of implementing agency gets 10%.
5.    Rest is pocketed by Napoles after deducting the cost of overpriced supplies such as agricultural kits and training materials procured from a supplier enterprise, which is owned by her, or the full remaining amount if there is no delivery.

Proving the conspiracy are the sworn testimonies of whistleblowers that actually participated in the scheme.   Corroborating the testimonies is documentary evidence including but not limited to books or ledger detailing the amounts paid as kickbacks to certain individuals who are now charged.  Other corroborating documentary evidence are sourced from the Commission on Audit and the Anti-Money Laundering Council.

Among the alleged co-conspirators are Senators Johnny Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Bong Revilla.  Also charged is Dennis Cunanan, former Deputy Director General of the Technology Resource Center, one of the implementing government agencies that dealt with the Senators, Napoles, and the fake NGOs.

Dennis Cunanan
Dennis Cunanan applied to be a State Witness as well as to be under the Witness Protection Program (WPP). The Department of Justice (DOJ) provisionally admitted him under the WPP.  Only the Sandiganbayan upon the recommendation of the Ombudsman can approve his being a State Witness.

Cunanan is either guilty or innocent.  He continues to profess innocence.  From the point of view of the DOJ, of course, he is guilty. He just does not appear to be the “most guilty”. This is why he applied to be a State Witness.  This is also why his application was provisionally approved by the DOJ.

His sworn testimony directly linked Senators Revilla, Estrada, and Enrile among others to the Napoles scheme and to the fake NGOs.  Documentary evidence as well as the testimonies and records of the whistleblowers corroborate it.  He showed motive on the part of the Senators when they pressured him to accelerate the process.

Reading his affidavit, corroborated by documentary evidence and also by the testimonies of Benhur Luy and company in relation to the conspiracy affecting TRC, I find Dennis Cunanan credible and necessary to nail Revilla, Estrada and Enrile. Taken all together, the witnesses point to this conclusion. Senator Miriam Santiago and of course, Secretary de Lima would attest to a similar view.

But the effective questioning and interpellation by Senators Grace Poe and Koko Pimentel revealed an apparent conflict between the claims of Star Witness Benhur Luy and Dennis Cunanan.  The latter maintained his innocence refusing to admit that he received any financial benefit from the scheme.

In an earlier sworn testimony, Benhur Luy had stated that he prepared and caused the delivery in a paper bag the amount of P960, 000 to Dennis Cunanan through Evelyn de Leon.  Luy admitted that he never saw Cunanan actually receiving the money but saw him carrying the same paper bag when he got out of the room where he met Napoles and de Leon.

Cunanan is one of the recipients of cash (P960K) as recorded in Luy’s ledger.  Luy also stated in detail the preparation and delivery of the cash in a paper bag intended for Cunanan via de Leon.

Why is Cunanan denying it? Admitting it would still qualify him to be a State Witness.  What was in the paper bag that he was carrying when getting out of the room? Did it still contain the cash? If it was still there, was he carrying it to be given to his boss? Is it part of the agency commission for TRC and not a kickback?  If so, did he turn it over to TRC? I always assumed that he financially benefited from the scheme.

Secretary de Lima asked Cunanan to “rectify” or clarify the situation.  His status as a witness is in question.  

Many in the barbershop, cyberspace and other places are waiting for the answer!

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