Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sorting Out The Pork Scam Lists

My barber asked for my take on the so-called “Napoles’ pork scam list.”

I told him that we start by “listing” the different lists that are out there:

1.    The list that Sandra Cam claims to possess;
2.    The list that former Senator Lacson received from Janet Napoles’ husband;
3.    The list that PNoy received from a source known only to him;
4.    The list given to DOJ Secretary de Lima by Janet Napoles; and
5.    The list that can be gleaned from the records of head whistleblower Benhur Luy.

On Sandra Cam’s list:

I give this list the least or no evidentiary value. We do not know whether Cam’s source is credible or not. We do not know why the source decided to give it to Cam. 

On Ping Lacson’s list:

I consider this list to be of higher value than that of Cam’s. First, it came from the husband of Janet Napoles.  Second, it was given to a co-military officer. Third, Senator Lacson is part of the PNoy administration and known as one of only two Senators who rejected the use of pork barrel allocations. But the list is attached only to a draft affidavit, which means that the list is also considered just a draft. It also has no evidentiary value.

On the list given to PNoy:

Depending on the source, this list is only given importance because it even reached PNoy and that the latter used it for comparison to the other lists. Its value is limited to that.

On the list possessed by DOJ Secretary de Lima:

This list is attached to an affidavit or a sworn statement signed by Janet Napoles herself.  The NBI and the Department of Justice are still evaluating and validating the list.  Depending on the evidence supporting the inclusion of anybody in the list as provided by Napoles, this one is definitely more valuable than the first three lists mentioned above.

On the list from Benhur Luy and other whistleblowers:

This list is the most valuable. It is accompanied by the supporting evidence coming from Luy and the other whistleblowers who correspondingly signed sworn statements; proofs gathered by the combined investigations of the NBI and the DOJ, and cross-checked with the COA audit reports. 

In fact, it is these findings with the assistance of the whistleblowers that led to the charges first, by the NBI and DOJ and now the Office of the Ombudsman taking the lead in prosecuting before the Sandiganbayan.

Benhur Luy took charge of storing all records containing the list and the corresponding transactions involving those in the list.  He administered these records kept in a hard drive.

This is the source of Janet Napoles’ list and the basis of her sworn statement. Since Benhur made backup files of the hard drive contents, administered the storing and retrieval systems, and actually participated in the implementation of the pork scam, he also used the same files to support his sworn statements. So did the other whistleblowers.

The Inquirer, which also obtained a copy of the backup files from Benhur Luy’s relatives, “discovered that close to 200 people, including lawmakers, department heads, a former Supreme Court justice, popular media personalities, heads of government-owned and -controlled corporations, government employees of various agencies, local government officials, lawyers, military officials, show-biz personalities, employees of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and private individuals received money from Napoles based on the records of Benhur.”

According to the Inquirer, based on Benhur’s records, “there were legislators who repeatedly funneled huge funds to Napoles organizations and personally received kickbacks from her. And there were legislators who allocated a minimal amount of their pork barrel funds through agents and representatives.”

The paper further reported, “Kickbacks were handed out using various methods—through bank fund transfers, checks, cash delivered to their houses or picked up at the JLN office in Discovery Center in Ortigas, Pasig City. Other places indicated as venues for deliveries of kickbacks were hotels, restaurants and coffee shops.”

Some legislators reportedly received kickbacks in foreign currency, the files showed.

The Inquirer also found in the computer files “records of financial transactions, bank documents, bank transfers, cash and check disbursements, letters of endorsements, memorandums of agreement, acceptance letters, list of properties, money transfers, auditor’s reports, private letters, insurance policies, prayers, photographs, project proposals, check disbursements, bank placements, bank deposits, drafts of various communications, special allocation release order numbers, guests lists and payrolls of JLN employees, including Benhur’s.”

It is possible that Napoles personally and separately transacted with some public officials and therefore, not recorded by Benhur or the computer.  This could explain why Napoles may have added more to the list that Benhur compiled.  Napoles is the only person who can explain that. After all, she would be under oath when she testifies.

As far as I know, only the list derived from Benhur and his records as well as that of Napoles as verified, and validated by DOJ have evidentiary value.  Both are attached to the sworn affidavits of witnesses.  The Ombudsman will mostly check which ones corroborate the existing evidence already in her possession.

I told my barber that my own list is as valuable if not more than that of the lists obtained by Sandra Cam, former Senator Ping Lacson, and PNoy. At least in my case, I derived it from reliable sources such as COA, and public records that could support my conclusion to any inclusion.

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