He also noted that there are other lawmakers—notably those of the former ruling Liberal Party (LP)—who were on the list of projects supported by the said program.
“Prior to this (Duterte) administration, what we saw was kind of a selective justice. They only prosecuted those who are against the government—[sina Senators] Jinggoy (Estrada), Bong Revilla, etc., (Juan Ponce) Enrile,” Diokno said.
“But if you look at the list, hindi mo na kailangan... this is public knowledge naman. If you look at those who should probably be charged, there is a long list of Liberal Party members, some senators sitting in Congress, so baka ‘yun 'yung sinasabi niya (Duterte). Even the president (Aquino). This kind of mess cannot happen without the approval of the president,” he added.
DBM data, released in September 2014, shows that the three former senators mentioned by Diokno were among the 21 members of the Senate who endorsed DAP-supported programs.
However, Estrada, Revilla, and Enrile—along with alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles—were charged and detained in 2014 for plunder and graft charges, in relation to their alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
In August 2015, the Supreme Court granted Enrile’s petition to post bail. Meanwhile, Estrada and Revilla, as well as Napoles, are still in detention.
Some 10 other sitting senators endorsed DAP-funded projects, including Duterte allies and adversaries.
Meanwhile, some 139 representatives—among them past and present LP members—were also found in the said list.
Raps vs. Abad, Aquino
Diokno said it’s “incredible” that “nobody” has gone to jail over “multi-billion” DAP, considering that there have been cases were local officials have been charged over technical malversation of smaller amounts.
“I think somebody should go to jail for the DAP. We have not seen that,” he said.
Last month, the Ombudsman indicted former Budget Sec. Florencio Abad for usurpation of legislative powers, a crime under the Revised Penal Code, for DAP’s implementation.
However, criminal and administrative charges against Aquino and Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos have been dismissed.
An appeal has been filed regarding the anti-graft office’s decision on Aquino. The Office of the Ombudsman, in turn, has ordered the former president to comment on the matter.
Diokno said his department is “securing” all documents related to the matter, and they may be turned over to concerned agencies pursuing investigation, “under the Freedom of Information.” —