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Belgica files additional evidence vs Aquino, others over DAP mess.

The coalition of anti-pork barrel groups, led by former Manila Councilor Greco Belgica, on Thursday submitted documentary evidence before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the alleged misuse of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) during the previous administration.

Belgica, who was recently appointed commissioner of Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, expressed optimism that the evidence would help the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in its case buildup for possible filing of criminal cases against former President Benigno S. Aquino III and other officials.

It can be recalled that in November last year, Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II directed the NBI to conduct an investigation to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant the filing of malversation charges against Aquino, former Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad and former Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos in connection with the anomaly.

The probe was ordered by Aguirre based on the complaint filed by the Coalition for Investigation and Prosecution represented by Belgica.

Aguirre directed NBI Director Dante Gierran to create a special task force that will investigate the complaint.

Belgica said the new pieces of evidence they gathered would show a conspiracy between the Aquino administration and some lawmakers on DAP misuse.

Among the documents submitted by the group to the DOJ were a memorandum on DAP signed by Abad and official transcripts of Senate Committee on Finance hearing, both on October 12, 2011.

'These documents would prove the 'magic' of DAP-that in one day [October 12, 2011] DAP was presented to the Senate, signed by PNoy [Aquino] and printed out in the official gazette and DBM [Department of Budget and Management] web site,' Belgica told reporters.

'This is a clear conspiracy of Aquino, Abad, [former Interior Secretary Manuel A.] Roxas II, [former Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio] A. Abaya, [Sens. Franklin M.] Drilon, [Antonio F.] Trillanes IV and [Francis N.] Pangilinan,' he alleged.

Belgica expressed belief that the DOJ can now expedite its investigation as there are already enough evidence to warrant the filing of criminal cases against those involved in the anomaly.

Prior to this, Belgica submitted last September documents on DAP and formally asked the DOJ to conduct a fact-finding investigation.

He said the evidence showed a discrepancy of P2.6 billion from the DAP spending, asking the DOJ to pursue cases of malversation of public funds with aggravating circumstances against Aquino, Abad and Relampagos.

The documents also showed that P6.5 billion from the P144-billion DAP funds of the previous administration was allocated to various local projects that were not itemized in the budget, Belgica further revealed.

He said the evidence they gathered was a result of years of investigation as part of their advocacy against pork barrel system in government.

The former councilor disclosed that the anomalies include ghost projects funded by DAP, citing for instances projects involving lamp posts and bridges that were given DAP funds, but were not actually built upon verification.

Belgica also cited the reported admission of detained former senator Jinggoy Estrada that they were given DAP funds for the ouster of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona in impeachment trial in 2011.

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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Feb 1, 2018
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