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Pork scam: Customs’ Biazon, 33 others charged in pork scam

Customs chief Ruffy Biazon

The National Bureau of Investigation on Friday filed graft and malversation charges against 34 individuals for their alleged involvement in the pocketing of millions of pesos from the legislators’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) by using bogus non-government organizations (NGOs).

In a televised news briefing said among the individuals charged with malversation of public funds, graft and corruption, and direct bribery are seven congressmen including Customs chief Ruffy Biazon.

The seven lawmakers charged by the NBI are Baterna Salacnib (1st district, Ilocos Sur), Biazon (Muntinlupa), Mark Douglas Cagas IV (1st district, Davao del Sur), Douglas Cagas (1st district, Davao del Sur), Arel Olano (1st district, Davao del Norte), Arthur Pingoy Jr (2nd district, South Cotabato), Rodolfo Valencia (1st distroct, Oriental Mindoro).

Others charged by the NBI are:

  • two representatives of congressmen
  • three heads and seven employees of implementing agencies
  • 12 resident auditors
  • Janet Napoles
  • two individuals from the alleged fake non-government organizations set up by Napoles

In September, Napoles, along with Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, Senator Jinggoy Estrada and Senator Ramon Revilla Jr., among others were also charged by the Department of Justice and NBI for their involvement in the multi-billion scam.

The infamous PDAF scam was purportedly masterminded by Napoles by using bogus NGOs and ghost projects and siphoning millions of pork barrel funds of senators.

The NBI said that lawmakers were able to pocket 40 to 60 percent of the PDAF for every project endorsed by the legislators to the NGO formed by Napoles.

“These kickbacks are the lawmaker’s bribe for giving undue favor to a Napoles NGO, or represent his illegally contracted share from a malversation scheme designed to misuse and misappropriate public funds entrusted to him, and which he appropriates instead for private gain rather than the public benefit intended by law,” the NBI said.

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