Junk Janet Napoles as state witness.
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Junk Janet Napoles as state witness
In 2013, Filipinos staged massive protests amid revelations of the diversion of billions of pesos in public funds to ghost projects under the pork barrel system. Hundreds of thousands of citizens expressed outrage over PDAF and the even more opaque system of Presidential pork.
Janet Lim Napoles was exposed as the major facilitator, the bridge between legislators, the disbursement agency of the executive branch and private contractors and implementing government units, foundations and NGOs.
Three senators and their aides were arrested, jailed and charged with plunder in connection with the theft of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
We scored a major victory in the Supreme Court, which unanimously struck down PDAF as unconstitutional.
But the impeachment trial of the late chief justice Renato Corona exposed another pork system in the executive branch. The Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP took away funds from legislated programs to reward those who backed former President Benigno Aquino III’s crusade to oust Corona.
DAP led all the way to Mr. Aquino and his Cabinet.
While scores of legislators were linked to pork barrel abuses, only foes of the former administration have been charged.
Five years hence, President Rodrigo Duterte’s government continues to practice pork via entitlements and insertions and through big chunk of discretionary funds for the Chief Executive.
The Duterte government now wants to enrol Napoles, a principal in cases against the PDAF scam, as a state witness.
We urge the government, through the Department of Justice, to junk this plan.Not only is Napoles a main figure in the scandal, she has been less than truthful in her “confessions”. There is scant evidence of her trustworthiness, a requirement for state witnesses.
We also warn the DOJ of using Napoles for political goals. The DOJ has a track record of subverting its mandate by employing witnesses – like some convicted drug dealers -- as tools for political persecution.
We maintain that all those involved in pork barrel corruption, whether it is PDAF or DAP, should be made accountable.
We continue to demand the abolition of all pork.
We demand that justice cover all parties involved in these scandals.
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