80 lawmakers in ‘Lacson list’

Abad, 19 others including Alcala, also named

BUDGET Secretary Florencio Abad and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, 10 incumbent and two former senators and 69 incumbent and former members of the House of Representatives were named in the list that the alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim Napoles gave to rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago was not on Lacson’s list although he named her in an interview on ABS-CBN’s Bandila Monday night.

In the spotlight. Members of a labor group gathered
outside the Justice Department building in Manila on
Tuesday to condemn Justice Secretary Leila de Lima
for allegedly hiding from the public the list of
lawmakers and other officials who benefited from
the pork-barrel scam. Danny Pata
In a text message Tuesday, Lacson said Santiago’s name was in the list of principal whistleblower Benhur Luy, and said Santiago would be surprised once Luy’s list is made public.

“She’ll feel like [she’s] being slapped with 10 kilos of pork,” he said.

Lacson submitted his copy of the list and a draft affidavit by Napoles to Senator Teofisto Guingona III, chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee, Tuesday afternoon.

Lacson said he was given the documents by Napoles’ husband Jimmy during a meeting on March 12.

“I hope that these documents will assist the investigation being conducted by your committee and address the clamor of our people for transparency in public service,” said

Lacson in a one-page letter attached to the documents.

Abad and Alcala, both close party mates of Aquino in the ruling Liberal Party, had earlier been implicated in the multi-billion pork barrel scam.

Based on the narration of events, Abad, then a congressman of Batanes, was introduced to Napoles in 2000.

When Napoles asked Abad how to earn money, he introduced her to foundations, Napoles said in her unsigned affidavit.

Alcala was also named as one of the biggest beneficiaries of the lawmakers’ pork barrel.

Both Abad and Alcala strongly denied the charges.

Aside from Senate Minority Juan Ponce Enrile and Senators Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada, who are already facing plunder charges, the other incumbent senators named were Malacañang allies: Majority Floor Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, Senators Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero, Aquilino Pimentel III, and members of the minority bloc Vicente Sotto III, JV Ejercito and Gregorio Honasan.

The former senators named were Manny Villar, and the late Robert Barbers.

The list also showed the following commissions and agents of the following senators: “Enrile, 45 percent, Tuazon; Estrada, 55 percent, Tuason; Revilla, 40 percent, Richard Cambe; Cayetano, 50 percent, Tito Boy; Legarda, 45 percent, Santos; Pimentel, 50 percent, wife; Villar, 50 percent, Jun.”

Also included in the list were 69 former and incumbent members of the House of Representatives, minus Abad and Ejercito.

Close allies of the President, TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) chief Joel Villanueva and resigned Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon were also named as having transacted with Napoles.

The government officials and employees in the list were Ofelia Agawan and Allan Umali, Department of Agriculture; Teresita Panlilio and Narciso Nieto, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR); Alex Sevidal, National Livelihood Development Center; Antonio Ortiz and Dennis Cunanan, Technology Resource Center; Rhodora Mendoza and Antonio Ortiz, Nabcor.

Listed as agents who acted as either acted as brokers or bagmen in the multi-billion pork barrel transactions were Ruby Tuazon, former social secretary of ex-President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada; former Interior and Local Government assistant secretary Bryan Yamsuan; Jen Corpuz; actor Matt Ranillo; Pauline Labayen, staff of Senator Estrada; Catherine Mae Santos, former staff of Revilla who transferred to Revilla’s office; Patricia Agana Tan, Alen Rusxte and Mon Arcenas.

Napoles said these agents would approach and inform her about the funds they had with a particular senator or congressman, and negotiate for a commission of 40 percent to 50 percent.

If Napoles refused, they would offer it to someone else, the narration of facts said. The agreed commission would depend on how much the lawmaker wanted to keep for himself, it added.

Since their production costs were low, Napoles said they were able to give commissions of up to 50 percent on fertilizer projects.

In her affidavit, Napoles said she sometimes advanced the commissions to the lawmaker.

After the advance payment, the lawmaker would then send her request for appropriation or allotment with the appropriations or finance committee. The committee would then submit the request to the Department of Budget and Management, which would prepare the Special Allotment Release Order or SARO.

Napoles would then ask for the documents pertaining to the request for appropriation made by the lawmaker as proof that it was already forwarded to the DBM.

In the conclusion, Napoles said her affidavit covered only the above-mentioned persons since there are already pending cases against them.

“Honorable Ombudsman, please understand my situation. I am only a simple person who wanted to earn for my family. As a person who is only a high school graduate, I then sincerely believe that what I am doing is a legitimate and righteous business. Had I known that giving commission is illegal, I would have not done such thing. I was working in the premise that since I was delivering fully and in some instances more than what I should that it would even things out,” Napoles said.

Napoles also said she is not a bad person.

“I always help people who ask for my assistance. I did not benefit from the transactions alone. In fact, I have formed foundations to help others and do charity works,” said Napoles as she attached to her affidavit the foundations that she formed.

“I regret that, at this point, my affidavit was not notarized as required by the rules because of lack of an authorized subscribing officer who will conduct the subscription and swearing in of my affidavit. Further, I was not able to obtain the service of a notary public because it will take time for such notary public to enter Fort Sto. Domingo as prior approval from its officers is required,” she wrote.

Napoles is currently locked up at Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, for an illegal detention charge filed by pork barrel principal whistleblower Benhur Luy.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who received her copy of the list from Napoles last month, refused to confirm the names of lawmakers revealed in Lacson’s copy of the list.

“I don’t want to further aggravate that kind of scenario where those possessing the supposed lists would individually disclose and name names. I don’t like that. For me, it’s muddling the entire thing,” De Lima said, in an interview.

“I cannot be confirming anything on that (list) at this point because as you all know the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has issued a subpoena for me to submit to them on or before Thursday, May 15, the certified true copies of the Napoles list and affidavit,” De Lima said.

However, De Lima admitted that while she is ready to submit the list to the committee, she might ask for an extension of the deadline because Napoles has yet to complete her affidavit.

“I am still waiting for the complete affidavit from the Napoles camp. Hopefully I will get it on or before the Thursday deadline. If not, I will ask for a little extension. But may I reiterate, I will comply with the subpoena,” the Justice Secretary said.

Besides, De Lima said she would still advise the Senate to exercise prudence and caution in handling the list, which is still being validated by th Justice Department.

“Of course I cannot impose on them (senators), I would only advise them to exercise prudence, circumspection and utmost responsibility in handling this matter, in handling the list and the affidavit once submitted to them,” she said.

But De Lima said Napoles herself was still the best person to discuss the list before the Senate hearing.

In his TV interview, Lacson said Senate President Franklin Drilon and Guingona were not on the list.

He also said Napoles should not become a state witness.

“She is the mastermind of the scam,” he said.

Malacañang, for its part, said it will not spare its allies if the allegations against them are proven true.

“The guiding principle of President Benigno Aquino III from the start is very clear: let the evidence point the direction of the investigation,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said.

“No one will be spared and no one will be coddled, for as long as we go by concrete evidence,” he added.

Over the weekend, Aquino said he was the first person to receive a copy of the so-called Napoles list, but he did not disclose who gave him the document and when it was transmitted.

Aquino said so far, there are three Napoles lists -- the one that he received, the copy given to de Lima, and the one in Lacson’s possession.

The President acknowledged that there may have been efforts to muddle the issue by providing conflicting details.

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