Their dealings date back to 2005 — Sandra Cam
SENATE President Franklin Drilon knew the alleged mastermind of the pork barrel scam, Janet Lim Napoles, as early as 2005 and even became a patron of one of her associates, whistleblower Sandra Cam said Sunday.
Campaign swing. Senator Franklin Drilon (center) stands beside Rene Maglangque, along with some Team PNoy candidates, during their campaign swing in Pampanga. Top photo shows the tarpaulin welcoming the Napoles couple. Photos courtesy of Sandra Cam
“Drilon and Napoles were the patrons of the biggest jueteng (illegal numbers game) bagman, an untouchable operator and troubleshooter in the Arroyo administration who managed to cross over to the Aquino clique and was even made a provincial party whip of the ruling Liberal Party,” Cam said.
Cam, president of the Whistleblowers Association of the Philippines, identified the jueteng operator as Candaba Mayor Rene Maglanque, whom Napoles introduced to Drilon in 2005 to get the mayor off the hook from a jueteng probe in the Senate.
Manila Standard tried to reach Drilon and Maglanque for comment but neither of them replied to queries about Cam’s allegations.
“What Tuwid na Daan? Kung Walang Corrupt Walang Mahirap? The Aquino administration and the LP embraced the most corrupt government official, Maglanque, who is now facing plunder charges because he was the partner in crime of Napoles in the Departments of Transportation and Communication and the Agrarian Reform pork barrel mess,” Cam said.
Maglanque was made a member and official candidate of the LP in the 2013 elections. He won the mayoralty race against his former ally, then incumbent Mayor Jerry Pelayo, a very close ally of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Asked who introduced Drilon to Napoles, Cam said it was Ruby Tuazon, who was the “missing link” in the web of corruption that spanned two governments.
Tuazon, who has fled the country, was social secretary of then President and now Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada.
After Estrada was ousted, Tuazon, a cousin-in-law of then first gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, managed to remain in the circle of power during the Arroyo administration, Cam said.
Tuazon was the go-between in the dealings of Napoles with lawmakers, Cam said.
“How can Drilon not remember Maglanque when I repeatedly identified him as jueteng bagman of then Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo during the Senate hearing? Drilon was Senate President at the time when the Senate probe was held in 2005. Mar Roxas was also senator at the time, along with Ramon Magsaysay and Jamby Madrigal, who became LP candidates for Team PNoy in 2013,” Cam said. “How can they not know [about] Maglanque’s dealings?”
As early as 2002, Napoles was a client of MOST, the Marcos Ochoa Serapio Tan law firm, when she figured in a P3.5 million suit over a contract to supply Kevlar helmets to the Armed Forces, Cam said.
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa is a named partner in MOST and his dealings with Napoles continued when he became the “Little President,” Cam said.
“I am coming out in the open to expose the hypocrisy of Drilon, the Liberal Party and the Aquino administration because I cannot allow Drilon, Roxas, Ochoa and other members of the LP to pretend they were struck by selective amnesia to claim they did not know Napoles or Maglanque,” Cam said.
In 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2013 elections, Napoles was financier of presidential, senatorial and congressional candidates, she said.
“Majority of them were under the payroll of Napoles. Napoles gave P100 million to the campaign kitty of President Benigno Aquino III’s Team PNoy in 2013, when Drilon was campaign manager,” Cam said.
“Drilon could not say no to Napoles, his biggest financier, when she brought Maglanque to him to be made the official candidate of the LP for the mayoralty race in Candaba,” Cam said. “Drilon knew Maglanque was a bagman of the Arroyos. Maybe he thought people will easily forget. I don’t easily forget.”
“I dare Drilon to check the official records of the Senate so he will know that he was present when I was asked to identify Maglanque and recount his role in the jueteng operations nationwide,” Cam said.
This, she said, was the primary reason Drilon was doing his best not to summon Napoles to testify before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chaired by Senator Teofisto Guingona III.
“Drilon did not want the public to know that contrary to his claims, he and Napoles knew each other as early as 2005 because of Maglanque, whom I named as a bagman of the Arroyos. He also did not want the public to know that Napoles knew the President, the Executive Secretary and other officials in Malacanang. And they knew her,” Cam said.
“So don’t be surprised anymore about the VIP treatment [that Napoles received when she surrendered to the Palace],” Cam said.
Today, Drilon will convene an all-majority caucus to decide on whether or not Napoles would be summoned to the Senate to shed light on the pork barrel scam controversy.
Cam urged Guingona and other senators to summon Napoles to testify in the Senate.
“Let the truth out. I urge Senator Guingona and other senators not to allow Drilon and other Palace officials to block the truth. Let the hypocrisy of the Aquino administration and the Liberal Party be exposed,” Cam said.
Asked what came of the 2005 Senate probe, Cam said a “moro-moro” lifestyle check was made on Maglanque, who was found to have failed the check but no charges were filed against him.
“Maglanque was untouchable,” Cam said.
“Shortly after I named Maglanque, Drilon ordered that I be stripped of my security because he told me the bill had already gone up to P700,000,” Cam said.
Cam said it was incumbent upon her group to gather information and evidence against “rogue” government officials.
“We went to Candaba to gather evidence against Maglanque. We also verified the special report done by the Commission on Audit. Our members nationwide are helping us, even the former and current employees of Napoles and her former associates,” Cam said.
She said, however, that Napoles was not involved in jueteng operations.
“Napoles needed Maglanque for her big ticket item deals in the DOTC and DAR. Maglanque was assistant secretary at the DOTC under the late Leandro Mendoza,” Cam said.
“Maglanque was Napoles’ associate in the P40.23-million computer supply scam that the Commission on Audit discovered in 2005 was awarded to Napoles’ fake non-government organization, Jo-Chris Trading that also figured in the P728 million fertilizer fund scam,” Cam said.
The COA found the computer deal was a ghost delivery project because the supposed beneficiaries denied having received any equipment but Napoles and Maglanque went scot-free, Cam said.
Maglanque and Napoles did not only corner contracts at the DOTC and ventured together in the DAR, she said.
Cam said Maglanque introduced Napoles to his golfing buddy former Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman, who was blamed largely for the plunder of the P900-million Malampaya funds that went to Napoles’ 12 fake NGOs.
Maglanque, she said, served as Pangandaman’s witness in a mauling incident in Valley Golf and Country Club in 2009.
While Maglanque had not been charged for the ghost delivery of computers at the DOTC, he and Pangandaman are now facing plunder charges involving the Malampaya funds.
In fact, Cam said, several tarpaulins had been put up in Candaba with Maglanque and his family welcoming “Ma’am Janet” and her husband Jimmy.
The Napoles’ were supposed to attend Maglanque’s oath-taking as mayor on June 30, but the couple did not make it.
The tarpaulins were taken down shortly after the P10 billion pork barrel scam was exposed.