Cross-check Napoles lists: Archbishop Villegas

He said that contents of the ‘Napolist’ should not be taken as the only reference, if only to prosecute those involved in the multibillion anomalies.

Philippines
May 15 2014, 2:52 PM
Cross-check Napoles lists: Archbishop Villegas
Archbishop Socrates Villegas.

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Archbishop Socrates Villegas has demanded that the Napoles’ list be cross-checked with other such lists to ferret out the truth behind the pork barrel scam.

A government audit released in August found that $141 million of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) – commonly referred to as pork barrel funds – allocated over three years under the previous administration was released to questionable aid groups and ghost projects. Five senators and 23 congressmen were implicated in the scam allegedly masterminded by Janet Lim Napoles. The PDAF is a lump-sum given to lawmakers to finance priority development programs and projects in areas they represent.

Former senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday submitted to the Senate blue ribbon committee, a list of accomplices Napoles named.

Aside from this Napoles’ list, the archbishop said other sources like the reports and records of the Commission on Audit, the Senate, the Department of Budget and Management, and other government agencies can be utilized.

He said that contents of the ‘Napolist’ should not be taken as the only reference, if only to prosecute those involved in the multibillion anomalies.

“If you want to authenticate the document that you have, you have to cross-check it with other sources and references and then you can come-up a certain degree of certainty that this one is the authentic, this one is less accurate, and so on,” the archbishop explained.

President Benigno Aquino III has earlier said that his administration has at least three versions of the ‘Napolist’.

The first version, he said, was the one that had been sent to him, the second is in the hands of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, and the third version is in the possession of Lacson.

Asked whether the CBCP is willing to help in cross-checking the different lists, Archbishop Villegas said it is not within the expertise of the bishops.

“We are not competent for that. We do not have the professional preparation to do that because our mission is charity, mercy, and compassion,” he said.

Archbishop Villegas noted how the CBCP had declined in taking part of the commission that was formed to probe the assassination of former senator Ninoy Aquino for a similar reason.

“That is not our mission. Not that we don’t like. But with responsibility… if you are not able, you cannot be responsible,” he said.

Source: CBCPNews

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