Aquino slapped with graft anew

The Truth and Justice Coalition has filed a graft complaint with the Ombudsman against former President Benigno Aquino III over the release of the Disbursement Acceleration Program funds in 2011.

Greco Belgica, the coalition’s president and head of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, said the filing of the charges was not politically motivated.

In a 61-page complaint, Belgica also filed 274 counts of graft against 139 members of the House of Representatives and 21 senators for allegedly receiving the illegal cross-border transfer for the first tranche, and 95 other congressmen and 18 other senators for the second tranche.

Among those charged were ex-Budget secretary Florencio Abad, ex-Interior secretary Mar Roxas,

ex-Cavite representative Joseph Emilio Abaya, who was then the House appropriations committee chairman; Senator Franklin Drilon, who was then the finance committee chairman; Senator Antonio Trillanes IV;  Joseph Emilio Abaya; ex-Budget undersecretary Mario Relampagos and director Yolanda Doblon.

Belgica identified only Drilon and Trillanes as the senator-respondents, saying the evidence gathered was directed to the culpability of the two senators.

“Note that our complaint was referring to several John Does,” he said.

He accused Abaya and Drilon of conniving with one another in the graft scheme for being the finance chairmen in Congress and at the Senate, respectively.

Roxas could be held liable for his “clandestine” meetings with senators, he said.

He questioned Trillanes’ amnesty grant and receipt of DAP funds for the implementation of supposed ghost projects.

“The amnesty, ghost project and the project not listed in the Fil-Chinese Chamber of Commerce website were matters that distinguish Senator Trillanes from the rest of the DAP recipient senators who voted for the conviction of [Supreme Court] Chief Justice [Renato] Corona,” he said.

He said the DAP fund were “used to influence the legislators to impeach and convict former Chief Justice Renato Corona” based on the account of then-senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada.

“The cross-border transfer to the legislators was to influence them in ousting the Chief Justice. It was the clear criminal intent to use public funds not for the purpose they were intended by the legislature but for their own selfish and individuals,” the complaint read.

Between Oct. 25, 2011 and Dec. 8, 2011, or just four days before Corona’s impeachment, 124 House members received DAP funds of P1.565 billion.

According to Belgica, when the articles of impeachment were turned over by the Senate, P7.322 billion in special release allotment orders were released to 11 senators.

In addition, P1.975 billion in DAP funds were released to 21 senators between Nov. 16, 2011 and Dec. 22, 2011.

Belgica invoked the Supreme Court’s decision declaring cross-border transfer allotments as unconstitutional.

Topics: Truth and Justice Coalition , Benigno Aquino III , Disbursement Acceleration Program funds , Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission

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