MANILA(Mabuhay) – The Department of Justice is filing malversation, graft and bribery charges against 34 individuals including former Muntinlupa congressman and now Customs chief Rozzano Rufino Biazon, and seven former congressmen, for their alleged links to the P10 billion pork barrel scam.
In a press briefing, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the 34 individuals include 7 former congressmen, 2 representatives or agents of the congressmen, 3 heads of implementing agencies, 2 presidents of non-government organizations linked to businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, 7 other officials and employees of implementing agencies and 12 resident Commission on Audit auditors of these implementing agencies.
Four congressmen were removed from the list as they are now dead.
Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the pork barrel scam, is also included in the second batch of cases in the PDAF scam. The first batch of cases filed before the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the pork barrel scam included 39 individuals including Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla.
The seven former congressmen facing charges in the second batch of cases are Biazon (Muntinlupa), Salacnib Baterina (1st District Ilocos Sur), Douglas Cagas (1st District Davao del Sur), Marc Douglas Cagas IV (1st District Davao del Sur), Rodolfo Valencia (1st District Oriental Mindoro), Arthur Pingoy Jr. (2nd District South Cotabato), and Arrel R. Olaño (1st District Davao del Norte).
The two representatives of congressmen included in the cases are former congresswoman Zenaida Cruz Ducut and Celia Cuasay.
De Lima said Biazon, Baterina and Douglas Cagas coursed pork barrel funds to the Philippine Social Development Foundation, Inc. (PSDFI), an NGO linked to Napoles.
She said the former lawmakers were not charged with plunder because the alleged amounts coursed to fake NGOs did not meet the P50 million threshold.
“Ang palaging theory namin is that they’re all co-conspirators, varying roles, varying degrees of involvement or culpability. Maaaring iba-iba, not necessarily as principals by direct cooperation but other levels like accomplices,” de Lima said.
The alleged kickbacks of the former lawmakers are as follows:
Baterina (P7.5 million)
Biazon (P1.95 million)
Douglas Cagas (P9.3 million)
Mark Cagas (P5.54 million)
Olano (P3.1 million)
Pingoy (P7.5 million)
Valencia (P2.41 million)
The justice chief said it is up to Biazon if he will take a leave of absence from the Bureau of Customs. She said the cases will still need to be investigated by the Office of the Ombudsman.
Biazon is a member of the Liberal Party of President Aquino. (MNS)