Enrile refutes pork scam charges

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

SENATE Minority Leader Senate Juan Ponce Enrile filed his counter-affidavit refuting the charges filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Enrile, Senators Ramon Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada, were charged with plunder along with businesswoman Janet Napoles, the alleged architect of the pork barrel scam, and 34 others.

The senator said the government's own evidence shows he never personally endorsed any non-government organization (NGO) involved in the reported Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam, whether connected to Napoles or not, to any implementing agency.

Enrile added that the only role he or his office played in the whole process was to identify specific projects to be funded under his PDAF allocation, as requested by the officials of the local government units involved.

Such procedure, Enrile pointed out, is required by current laws and regulations and was being practiced by all legislators, charged or not. He noted that it was ridiculous to charge him for obeying the law.

He also said that it was solely the implementing agency that designated the NGOs for the purpose of implementing and executing the projects involved.

Citing the Supreme Court (SC), Enrile said that "from the regulation of fund releases, the implementation of payment schedules and up to the actual spending of the funds…" the Executive takes full control of the system, and, according to Enrile, "should not that power also come with full responsibility and accountability?"

Enrile noted that even Commission on Audit itself declared and admitted that the implementing agencies cannot "relegate this duty to the legislator."

In his reply, Enrile disputed the theory that he "may" have induced the agencies or the NGOs into misusing his PDAF allocation. He noted that the documents appearing to establish his alleged involvement or that of his staff were, as admitted by the government's own witnesses, the whistleblowers Merlina Sunas and Benhur Luy, all forged and fabricated.

Moreover, Enrile alleged that he does not personally know any of the agency officials involved, nor has he ever met Napoles, socially or otherwise. Neither he nor his staff, as the whistleblowers testified, has been to the office of Napoles. He also said that he has never been to a single social affair of Napoles. He stated there is not a piece of evidence or proof to establish even the suspicion of conspiracy in a fair mind.

Enrile added that there is no testimonial or documentary evidence showing that he received any commissions or kickbacks.

He denied receiving "a centavo of ill-gotten wealth."

All whistleblowers admitted they never saw him receive any amount from Napoles, as alleged by one whistleblower.

Enrile also said that Luy himself has sworn that he merely put down in his accounting ledger whatever Napoles instructed him to write and that Luy himself admitted that he has no personal knowledge of these alleged transactions. Moreover, the source documents of any alleged payoffs to anyone were shredded and destroyed by Luy's group, as Luy himself admitted previously.

Enrile finally said that while he respects the old adage that everyone, including his critics, is "entitled to their own opinions," he does not believe, however, that this gives them the freedom to create their own "facts." (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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