MANILA – Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano advised the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday to focus on the evidence and not be swayed by criticisms as it prepares filing the next batches of cases in the ongoing pork barrel scam probe.
Cayetano said the DOJ should ignore criticisms that it is intentionally excluding the administration allies in the filing of cases.
”They should be more transparent so that all those guilty will be investigated and indicted, while all that are innocent shall be cleared,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano made his comments following reports that Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Secretary Joel Villanueva is among those who will be charged in the third batch of cases.
“The DOJ 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 had 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 fund (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,” he added.
Cayetano stressed the strength of cases against powerful public officials has always emanated from truth and evidence.
Cayetano expressed concerns 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,” he said.