Low-level officers shouldn’t have been charged in pork scam: Dapat si Napoles, politiko, agency head lang kinasuhan!

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The plunder cases against pork barrel queen Janet Lim Napoles and her politiko cohorts are unlikely to be resolved before President Rodrigo Duterte steps down in 2022.

Abogado Levito Baligod believes that the case could have been resolved faster if the Office of the Ombudsman had decided to limit the accused in the plunder cases to only three personalities – Napoles, the politiko who connived to divert his or her Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), and the head of the agency used as conduit for the ghost projects and beneficiaries.

Baligod said that including the low-level officers, who only followed the order of their bosses and politikos in the release of pork barrel funds to Napoles’ bogus foundations, had made the cases too unwieldy.

He believed that the cases would have been resolved by the Sandiganbayan if the low-level officers were tapped as witnesses instead of included among the accused.

“Matagal pa po siguro mga aabot pa tayo ng dalawa hanggang tatlong taon po siguro sa Sandiganbayan. Kaya po nagtatagal yan sa Sandiganbayan umaabot po ng 30 hanggang 35 ang respondent sa bawat kaso. So umaabot din po ng ganoong numero ang mga abogado na nagdedebate sa korte, ‘yung nagsusumite ng mga pleading nila,” said Baligod in an interview with DZMM’s Julius Babao and Zen Hernandez.

“Kung isa o dalawang abogado nga lang ang nandoon sa korte medyo mabagal na, eto trenta mahigit. Kaya po noon ay nagsamapa kami ng kaso in early 2014 ay nabanggit namin kay Ombudsman Conchita Morales noon na kung pupuwede yung tatlo lang ang ating kasuhan at gamitin natin yung iba na witnesses,” he said

“Yung tatlo po na iyun ay yung head ng implementing agency yung legislator at tsaka si Ginang Napoles. Ang ginawa po kasi sa office of the Ombudsman pati ‘yung low level officers isinama nila napakarami po at kung ginamit natin sila na witnesses ay napakadali po sana baka ngayon ay tapos na,” he added.

Baligod said the low-level officials could have testified that they were asked by the politikos themselves to expedite the release of their PDAF to Napoles’ foundations.

“Ang point sana namin noon ay sila ang magpapatunay na yung legislator was actively following up yung release ng PDAF niya at pinapagalitan pa sila ng mga mambabatas kung nade-delay. So ‘yun sana ang undue interest nung legislator sa pagpapa-release ng PDAF niya ang isang ebidensya sana na magpapatunay na may kinalaman yung legislator na ito. Kasi sa ngayon po ang sinasabi nila pineke lamang ‘yung kanilang pirma,” said Baligod.

“Kung pinayagan po sana sila noon yung low level officials na ito na magsabi na ‘yan tumawag siya sa akin sa ganitong panahon, sa ganitong oras, pinagalitan pa niya ako. ‘Yung isang legislator nga po nagtatambay na doon sa opisina nila para pagka-release ng DBM (Department of Budget and Management) on that day gusto nilang ma-release din on the same day wala pang bidding,” said Baligod.

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