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DoJ to form panel on new ‘pork’ probe

The Department of Justice is set to create a panel of prosecutors that will handle the reinvestigation of the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam cases.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said this is part of the ongoing review of the “pork barrel” fund scam on orders of President Duterte which seeks to find out who else should be held accountable over such anomaly.

“We are going to constitute another task force. Pwedeng NBI-DoJ, pwedeng within the DoJ family, but masyadong maaga pa, but definitely we are going to investigate,” Aguirre said.

Aguirre recalled that when suspected pork barrel fund scam mastermind businesswoman Janet L. Napoles surrendered in August 2013, she was reportedly accompanied by then President Benigno S. Aquino III and Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” A. Roxas II to the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

But he clarified that he was not implying the guilt of those who accompanied Napoles. “What I’m just trying to say is that why did this person go straight to Malacañang, to the highest officials of the land, including Cabinet secretaries. You can say that high-ranking people are involved here,” he said.

Aguirre also asked why only three former senators – Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon “Bong” B. Revilla Jr., and Jose “Jinggoy” E. Estrada – were indicted before the Sandiganbayan when Napoles implicated about a dozen incumbent and former senators and over 100 congressmen in the list she submitted to then Justice Secretary now detained Sen. Leila M. de Lima.

He believes the investigation conducted by the previous administration on the pork barrel controversy was “selective” and a “miscarriage of justice.” (PNA)