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Sandra Cam: Drilon, LP out to silence me

Over list of Palace allies involved in ‘pork’ scam

WHISTLEBLOWER Sandra Cam on Sunday accused Senate President Franklin Drilon and the ruling Liberal Party of trying to silence her over a list of names, mostly administration allies, who were involved in the pork barrel scam.

Based on the documents in her possession, Cam said the kickbacks to lawmakers did not come only from the Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel allocations, the Malampaya fund or the Disbursement Acceleration Program.

She added that one high-ranking senator got even more kickbacks than the three opposition senators that have already been charged in the pork barrel scam.

“A huge amount of pork barrel allocations received by this top-ranking senator and the others came from congressional insertions, on top of the regular PDAF allocations,” Cam told the Manila Standard.

Cam said these insertions were made when Drilon was chairman of the Senate finance committee, which deliberates on the national budget.

Drilon’s office denied Cam’s allegations that the Senate president received the largest kickbacks in the pork barrel scam and congressional insertions.

“That’s not true,” Drilon’s chief of staff Rey Bantug told the Manila Standard in a phone interview.

He said Drilon never had any dealings with Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the pork barrel scam, or her bogus non-government organizations (NGOs).

“The only NGO where he put his pork barrel is the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce. There’s no other NGO,” Bantug said.

Bantug said Cam was concocting lies about congressional insertions because she could produce no evidence linking Drilon to the pork barrel scam.

He added that every centavo of the insertions could be accounted for.

On Wednesday, Cam said Agrarian Reform Assistant Secretary Alex Almario, a member of the Liberal Party and “very close to Drilon,” went to her home in Cavite, which is not known to anyone.

They did not meet but Cam said Almario was persistent and kept calling her.

Almario, who was a provincial board member in Masbate and district chairman of the Liberal Party, obtained his current appointment because of Drilon, Cam said.

On Wednesday, he waited a hour in a store across her house.

“Since then, a black van without a plate number and with its engine running has been staking out across my place,” Cam said.

“Now, I ask Drilon, are you that desperate and scared as to silence me?”

She said despite his denials, Drilon knew the alleged mastermind of the pork barrel scam, Janet Lim Napoles, many years ago.

She added that Drilon should know if he is on the list of names.

Cam said Almario told her over the phone that he was her province mate from Masbate and that he only wanted to check on her and talk because they were “best friends.”

“We were never friends,” Cam said.

Almario, Cam said, went to see her because the powers-that-be were concerned that she would make public the list, the source of which she refused to disclose.

While Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson said they would not make their lists public, Cam said Drilon and the Liberal Party could not count on her silence and were worried she might distribute the list to the press anytime.

But she said she would wait for the Supreme Court to compel De Lima to release the list.

“I am giving the government a chance to come clean. The Palace said they would pursue the truth no matter who gets hurt or whether or not allies were involved. Let’s see. I gave my word to the source that the list would be made public only when necessary. It was given to me for safekeeping,” Cam said.

“In case something happens to Napoles, God forbid, or to anyone that has in possession of such a list, at least someone else, or me, is prepared to make it public,” said Cam, president of the Whistleblowers Association of the Philippines.

Cam said her list was similar to that held by Lacson, but she would not say if her copy came from him.

“It contains the names of 13 still unnamed senators and the three opposition senators, bringing the total to16 senators involved in the pork barrel scam,” Cam told the Manila Standard.

Of the 13 senators, three had graduated and came back, and 10 were incumbents, she said.

“So the 16 are now all incumbents,” Cam said.

In the House of Representatives, the list contained the names of 82 congressmen, Cam said.

Asked if these senators and congressmen were mostly allies of President Benigno Aquino III, Cam said by the sheer number, one can easily see that there were only a few members of the opposition in the House and the Senate.

Cam said she reported the Almario visit and “stakeout” to the police.

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