Groups slam De Lima for bungling PDAF cases vs. Napoles and former legislators

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Groups slam De Lima for bungling PDAF cases vs. Napoles and former legislators

Members of the militant Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) and multi-sectoral coalition Sanlakas held an indignation rally at the justice department after the Sandiganbayan granted bail to alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, incumbent Masbate governor Rizalina Seachon-Lanete and former APEC partylist representative Edgar Valdez last Wednesday.

The groups claimed the justice department must be held accountable for the “bungled handling” of the plunder cases and misuse of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) by the two-time district representative of Masbate and three-term partylist legislator after they allowed their funds to be diverted to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) managed by Napoles.

Veteran labor leader Leody de Guzman of BMP identified the “outright incompetence and selective prosecution” of Leila De Lima, a Liberal Party bet for a Senate seat that held the post of Secretary of the Department of Justice at the height of the pork barrel scam in 2013.as the culprit for the courts to conclude that the evidence presented against Lanete, Valdez and Napoles were “not strong” enough.

“Though the granting of bail is not indicative that Napoles, Lanete and Valdez are guiltless, the Sandiganbayan ruling gives us a sneak preview of the final verdict of their plunder cases. This as well is a revelation of how lethargic and negligent De Lima and her staff were in their performance of their duties,” De Guzman estimated.

“Leila De Lima is now the people’s dilemma. Because of her the chances of recovering the loot has dimmed further. Her gross incompetence makes her deserving to be cellmates with Napoles,” he added.

De Guzman argued that if the court’s ruling is indeed reflective of De Lima’s performance then the Filipino people stands to lose a total of 166.19 million pesos for the 11 counts of graft cases filed against Lanete and the 7 counts of graft against Valdez alone.

The report by the Commission on Audit which set ablaze the pork barrel scam in 2013 indicated that at least 6.1 billion pesos of legislative funds from 2007-2009 were misused, the majority of which were diverted to the bogus NGOs of Napoles.

The labor leader said that, “the granting of bail for Napoles and colluding legislators indicted for pocketing 10 billion pesos coupled with the images of detained lolas in North Cotobato who could not post the 12 thousand peso bail bond gives us of a grim picture of what the justice system has become under Aquino’s much-vaunted Daang Matuwid”.

“As the Aquino’s term nears its twilight, it would be safe to conclude that the justice system remains to favor only the rich and influential,” De Guzman inferred.

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