Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter “Companero” S. Cayetano said today that the Department of Justice must focus on the evidence and not be swayed by the criticisms from various sectors to include administration allies in the next batches of cases in the ongoing pork barrel scam investigation.
Cayetano wants more transparency so that all those guilty will be investigated and indicted, while all that are innocent shall be cleared.
The senator issued the statement in relation to reports that Secretary Joel Villanueva of TESDA is among those who will be charged in the third batch of cases filed with the Ombudsman.
“The Department of Justice must not allow its investigation to be dictated simply by the clamor of certain groups and individuals to include administration allies in the pork barrel cases. Truth and evidence should be the primary consideration of the investigation,” Cayetano said.
He said Villanueva, his fellow anti-corruption advocate who has been fighting corruption since he joined Congress as representative of the CIBAC (Citizens Battle Against Corruption) party list, will reportedly be charged with malversation of public funds over his alleged misuse of his priority development assistance funds (PDAF).
“In the case of Secretary Villanueva, he didn’t meet any of the three criteria as presented by Secretary De Lima herself. He never put anything in the Napoles (NGO); second there’s no whistleblower pointing to him, and third, the special audit itself said that the project was delivered and was fully audited but it was in the papers that a case will be filed against him,” Cayetano said.
“So now the people are asking, what is the process of the DOJ in determining who will be charged or not? Is it the evidence or is this just about public pressure and criticism? Is Secretary Villanueva just a sacrificial lamb? The DOJ should follow the evidence and the documents readily available from the COA and DBM and not be pressured just to save face.”
The senator stressed that the strength of cases against powerful public officials have always emanated from truth and evidence. Cayetano is concerned that if we start filing cases just because it is popular, the stronger cases will also be affected and the credibility of the investigators will be severely damaged.
Whether they are palace allies or detractors, DOJ must file the cases for as long as they are really guilty and not because critics are pressuring them to do so.#