De Lima: BI verifying whereabouts of PDAF scam personalities

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima has ordered the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to check if pork barrel scam personalities covered by a travel ban from the Sandiganbayan are still in the Philippines.

"They are now checking it (records) but so far, we have no report as to who among them (has left the country). BI will immediately report to me if they are able to confirm it," she told reporters Wednesday.

Commissioner Siegfred Mison earlier directed BI personnel assigned at the country's international airports and seaports to block the travel of persons named in the hold departure order (HDO).

Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and more than 30 individuals including alleged scam mastermind Janet Napoles were charged with plunder and/or graft over the alleged misuse of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

The three senators and some government officials were accused of receiving multi-million peso kickbacks from Napoles, who created fake non-government organizations (NGOs) that cornered PDAF projects.

Those projects, however, turned out to be incomplete or non-existent.

Law enforcement agencies like the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) have already expressed readiness to implement the arrest warrant once ordered by the Sandiganbayan.

But de Lima clarified that the court sheriff is the overall in-charge in serving the arrest warrant, adding the NBI and PNP can be tapped to assist.

"The order of Sandiganbayan might say which agency would assist the sheriff for the purpose of implementing it (arrest warrant). They can be silent about it and it will be the call of the sheriff from which agency he will seek assistance," she said.

It is up to the Sandiganbayan where to detain the accused even as the PNP has prepared a newly constructed four-room structure at its Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City to serve as detention facility for the senators implicated in the scam. (Sunnex)

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