Dispatch from Crame No. 470: Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the attempted rehabilitation of discredited politicians


Share on facebook
Share on twitter

Jinggoy Estrada’s and Bong Revilla’s pitch during the launching of their senatorial campaigns that they were persecuted (“Pinag-initan lang kami”) by the Aquino administration is a stark reminder of how discredited politicians attempt to rehabilitate their public image by playing the victim card. To set the record straight, no one else but the people were the victims when hundreds of millions of pesos of these former senators’ PDAF were siphoned to Janet Lim Napoles’s bogus NGOs.

This much was established in the documents and the paper trail of requests and disbursements, backed up by whistleblower testimonies and narratives, of how these two former senators, and a number of other legislators, delivered their PDAF to Napoles in exchange for their own shares of kickbacks that ended up in their own personal bank accounts. These findings of the NBI under my term as DOJ Secretary were then fully supported by the independent Office of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman found the evidence sufficient to prosecute them for the crimes of plunder and corruption, and thus proceeded to file the criminal charges with the Sandiganbayan.

The PDAF cases filed by the Ombudsman were legal actions meant to recover the plundered funds and to bring the plunderers to justice. There is no question about the fact that public funds in the form of the legislators’ PDAF were stolen. Hundreds of millions of pesos in public funds were not merely lost, or went missing. They were not lost by negligence, but were stolen through an elaborate criminal design that could not have been executed without the participation of the senator or congressman responsible for the PDAF.

The Aquino administration did not invent Janet Lim Napoles and her network of bogus NGOs. The accused senators and congressmen were the ones who individually dealt with Napoles long before the Aquino administration even came to power in 2010. It just so happened that the whole conspiracy blew up in Napoles’s and the legislators’ faces during Aquino’s presidency. No self-respecting administration would renege on its duty to investigate and prosecute those responsible for such grand larceny never seen before since the Marcos dictatorship.

We simply did our job in the Aquino administration to go after the PDAF plunderers. On the other hand, the Duterte administration is the one hell bent on rehabilitating those responsible by endorsing them as its own senatorial candidates.

The public must be forewarned that not all of those who claim to be victims of persecution are indeed victims. Sometimes they are just truly the crooks that they are who deserve to be locked up for good, instead of being elected once again to public office.

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
Rm. 502 & 16 (New Wing 5/F) GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Diokno Blvd., Pasay City

Trunk Lines:
(632) 552-6601 to 70 local no. 5750

Direct Lines:
807-8489 / (Rm. 16) 807-8580 /local 8619


© 2019 Office of Sen. Leila de Lima. All rights reserved.