Justice Secretary Leila De Lima on Tuesday said that President Benigno Aquino III knew Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon was being investigated with his involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam, but what he did not know was the decision of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to file charges against him and 32 other individuals.
De Lima said that she gave Aquino the list of respondents who released their PDAF to non-government organizations (NGOs) allegedly connected with businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
“But as to when they [charges] would be filed, the President had no idea,” De Lima said.
The Justice Secretary said that she wasn’t able to give Aquino a heads up regarding the filing of cases.
She said that the decision to put off the heads up so as to spare Aquino of “an unwanted burden,” most especially that the President ordered her “to just make sure to have enough evidence to support the cases.”
Meanwhile, De Lima denied that the Biazon was a last-minute inclusion in the second batch of plunder and malversation cases filed by the NBI.
She said that all respondents in the case, including Biazon underwent evaluation of the NBI, meaning there’s no truth that he was a last-minute inclusion.
Since resigning from his post at the BOC, Biazon decried that he was only included at the last possible minute.
“Where did he get that information? Why would he say that?” De Lima said. “This is the reason why it took us a while to file the second batch because it will not be advisable to just charge people without being certain.”
She explained that Biazon’s inclusion in the list was because of the supplemental affidavits of pork barrel scam Benhur Luy, which served as basis for him to be included.
“Meron yung mga affidavit, which is common to all, and merong mga supplemental affidavit na tig-isa sa lawmakers because dun sinalaysay ni Benhur yung amount of the alleged kickbacks,” said De Lima.