THE Palace said that it is time to investigate members of the opposition Liberal Party after the alleged mastermind of the pork barrel scam, Janet Lim Napoles, implicated Senator Franklin Drilon in the illegal diversion of public funds.
“Now is the time for Janet Lim Napoles and the people from the Liberal Party that she implicated to answer for what they have done and to begin the process of filing cases against them,” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in Filipino over state-owned Radyo Pilipinas on Monday.
Without offering any proof, Roque also insinuated that the LP might also be the ones behind the recent controversies involving the P16 billion frigates contract in which Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go has been accused of wrongdoing.
The Palace spokesman said they are ready to face the new destabilization efforts by the “yellows”—referring to the LP.
“This is not politics. This is accountability,” Roque said.
Drilon said he would not comment on the “fake news” that Napoles gave him P5 million in campaign funds for the 2010 elections.
In an interview on Monday, Drilon denied receiving any campaign contribution from Napoles.
“We have submitted our Statements of Contributions and Expenditures, which are open for public scrutiny,” he said.
Interviewed on a program that aired on government-owned PTV-4, Napoles said she contributed P5 million to Drilon’s campaign kitty.
“He [Drilon] knows me. In fact, I gave donations last election, when he ran in the 2010 elections,” Napoles said.
Roque said this allegation should be investigated.
“Leave it to the DoJ [Department of Justice] but there should be an investigation. Let the process of accountability begin,” he said.
On Tuesday, Roque said the government would cancel the passport of former Department of Budget and Management undersecretary Mario Relampagos, who is facing more than 300 pork barrel and Malampaya fund scam-related cases, if he continue to hide in the United States.
“If he’s in the US, there would be no problem because he can be extradited,” Roque said in Filipino during a press briefing in Malacañang Tuesday.
Roque appealed to the former DBM official to come back and clear his name if he is really innocent.
“Flight is evidence of guilty,” he said.
The Sandiganbayan has already considered Relampagos a “fugitive from justice” because of his failure to return to the country on Jan. 1, 2018.
The Sandiganbayan has ordered his immediate arrest after he failed to return from a trip to the United States with the court’s permission.
“Accused Relampagos’ intent to evade prosecution is unmistakable not only from his failure to return to the country as undertaken, but likewise from his communications to his counsel,” the Sandiganbayan resolution stated.
The Sandiganbayan also ordered the Department of Foreign Affairs to cancel Relampagos’ passport, which will expire on Oct.14, 2019, and for the prosecution to initiate steps for his extradition.
Also on Tuesday, a group working for transparency and accountability in government has asked that the Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth of the Supreme Court justices be revealed.