MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/16 September) – Two former House members from Mindanao have been charged with 36 other personalities in relation to the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam.
Former Congressmen Rodolfo Plaza of Agusan del Sur and Constantino Jaraula of Cagayan de Oro City have been charged with malversation, direct bribery and other graft and corrupt practices in relation to the alleged scam, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima announced in a press conference at the Office of the Ombudsman this afternoon.
Plaza and Jaraula were charged along with alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, three senators, three other former House members and 29 others.
Sens. Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada, and former Reps. Rizalina Seachon-Lanete of Masbate and Edgar Valdez of the APEC party-list were charged with plunder before the Ombudsman Monday afternoon.
Lanete is now the governor of Masbate.
Also charged with malversation is former Benguet Rep. Samuel Dangwa of Benguet.
Plaza, Jaraula and Dangwa were only recommended for malversation not plunder because the amount they allegedly got from Napoles was less than P50 million, de Lima explained.
Republic Act 7080 defines plunder as the acquisition of ill-gotten wealth amounting to at least P50 million. The crime carries the penalty of reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment.
The lawmakers’ chiefs of staff and authorized representatives, former heads of implementing agencies like the Technology Resource Center, and six presidents of nongovernment organizations formed by Napoles were also recommended to be charged with either plunder or malversation of public funds.
De Lima said more individuals will be charged as soon as they finish preparing additional evidence against them.
The alleged anomalies involving the use of the congressional pork barrel, officially called the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), have led to mounting calls for its abolition. (MindaNews)