Distinguishing who did what in the scam and who can be prosecuted by whom

The COA reports that

At least P1.289 billion in the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) of senators and representatives for 2007-2009 was released through nine cities, six provinces and 109 barangays in violation of state procurement rules. Eighty-two percent of the transactions were supported by documents that the COA considered “questionable,” while the remaining 18 percent or P234.213 million had no disbursement vouchers at all. The funds, funneled through the local government units (LGUs), were used for their own expenses (purchases, repairs and rentals), dole outs (educational, medical and burial) and office bills of their respective representatives.

The LGUs did not conduct any bidding, had spurious lists of beneficiaries or none at all, and their equipment rentals and road contracts had no specific work plans. In addition, there were no work programs or event schedules to justify the use of taxpayer money.

Mandaluyong City had the most “deficiencies noted” among the LGUs covered in the sample audit of the COA, with P426.527 million worth of flawed transactions. The amount represented the pork of its incumbent and former representatives as well as that of other lawmakers—Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales Jr. (P256.381 million), Speaker Prospero Nograles (P47.325 million), Ang Waray Rep. Florencio G. Noel  (P23.944 million) and former Mandaluyong Rep. Benjamin C. Abalos Jr. (P19.999 million). The transactions included P97.43 million for groceries for meetings and fireworks for events; P50 million for cleaning and garden supplies, and pest control; and P6.315 million for medals and trophies for sports activities.

– Read more on Philippine Inquirer

The extensive network involved in the pork barrel scam vis-a-vis procedures of their investigations can be summed up as follows:

  1. Janet Napoles is not a member of the Senate or Congress thus not covered by non-liability and inviolability.  Her trial should then proceed. She should be able to account for the fly by night NGOs linked to her that are used to channel the PDAF amounts.
  2. Senators and members of Congress currently seated who are named in the COA report can invoke inviolability although given the gravity, extent, and depth of the findings involving them – threatening the very foundation of the Philippine senate itself – this can be suspended for this particular case through standard procedures. The DOJ should’ve activated the procedure. But apparently didn’t because the Blue Ribbon Committee is now on top of the investigation of its peers.
  3. Former Senators and Congressmen and women named in the COA report are, since they are not anymore Senators, now without the privilege of inviolability hence can be prosecuted in courts with jurisdictions over them (e.g. Offices of the Solicitor General in the localities since this case is State vs.).
  4. Chairs and officers, current or former, of National Government Agencies (e.g. DSWD, DA) implicated in the scam are without the immunity privileges thus investigations into their involvement should proceed (notwithstanding prescribed rules and sanctions for civil servants under the Civil Service Commission).
  5. Elected officials in the localities and LGU officers, current or former, who are implicated in the COA report are without immunity privileges thus investigations into their involvement should proceed in courts with jurisdictions over them.

These investigations should be occurring in parallel, with the IAGCC as orchestrator.

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