THE Justice department has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate former President Benigno Aquino III and two other former officials, in connection with the alleged misuse of discretionary funds, particularly the multi-billion-peso Disbursement Acceleration Program during his term.
Aquino is already facing graft and usurpation of authority charges at the Sandiganbayan for his role in the January 2015 Mamasapano massacre in which 44 police Special Action Force commandos were killed.
In a department order released Friday, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II directed the NBI to investigate the complaint filed by Coalition for Investigation and Prosecution led by Greco Belgica against Aquino, former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and former DBM undersecretary Mario Relampagos, including the disbursement of DAP funds to senators and members of the House of Representatives.
“The NBI, through Director Dante A. Gierran, is hereby directed and granted authority to investigate the complaint filed by Coalition for Investigation and Prosecution represented by Greco Belgica, et. al. against former President Benigno Aquino III et. al. for malversation,”Aguirre said.
The DoJ also directed Gierran to form a special task force to investigate the complaint and submit periodic reports to Justice Undersecretary Antonio T. Kho Jr.
In September, Belgica’s group submitted to the Justice Department evidence allegedly showing misuse of the DAP funds.
The DAP, the brainchild of Abad, sought to speed up government spending, but the Supreme Court ruled parts of the program unconstitutional.
Belgica wants an investigation on the alleged discrepancy of P2.6 billion from the DAP spending, and pursue cases of malversation of public funds with aggravating circumstances against Aquino, Abad and Relampagos.
The documents also showed that P6.5 billion from the P144 billion in DAP funds of the previous administration was allocated to various local projects that were not itemized in the budget.
Belgica said the evidence they gathered were a result of years of investigation as part of their advocacy against pork barrel in government.