Key Info from and Points to Ponder on the Napoles Scam Complaint

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed its Complaint today pertaining to the Napoles Scam.

The Executive Summary of the Complaint provided to the public (link of which is provided below) contains the following information:

  1. Who are the accused and the case filed against them. The accused are: Enrile, Revilla, Estrada, Congresspersons, Chief of Staff (COS), Heads and officials of Implementing Agencies (IA), NGO heads and Janet Napoles.
  2. Sources of evidence, which include:
    • Testimonies
    • Documents from concerned national government agencies
    • COA Audit Report
  3. How the modues operandi of Napoles work, which basically follows the steps below:
    • Napoles and lawmaker agree on the services
    • Lawmaker through COS/ rep sends list to DBM
    • DBM releases Statement of Allotment and Release Order (SARO) to IA
    • Lawmakers endorses NGO to IA
    • IG and NGO enter into MOA (no bidding)
    • NGO "delivers" services (NGOs' incorporators are relatives, house helpers, drivers; suppliers are owned by Napoles)

      (Processes not included in the summary: NGO liquidates and submits report to IG, IG submits report to COA)

  4. The amount of kickbacks:
    • lawmaker: 40-60%
    • COS: 1-5%
    • Head of IA: 10%

There are key points to take note of and ponder upon from this information:

  1. The amount of kickback tracked (as stated in the report) already amounts to 51-75% of the allocated funds given to the lawmaker, COS and Head of IA. This does not include kickbacks given to the NGO, Napoles, suppliers, DBM, COA and other officials of the IA. How much really was used for the beneficiaries?
  2. The report says the absence of bidding is a violation of the Government Procurement Reform Act (GPRA). This is very crucial. Because if so, then all allocation of PDAF to NGOs (if these were all not subjected to biddings) will have to be investigated.

    The COA/ DBM Order on how NGOs can access funds from government (still searching for this) will have to be checked and those responsible for passing that Order (if it is indeed violative of GPRA) must also explain.

  3. This is only a complaint. The ball is now in the hands of the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB). The OMB will now be resposible for developing the case and filing it to appropriate courts.

    While some have already expressed pessimism on how fast the OMB can develop the case given its track record (see link to related articles below), there are four (4) possible reasons to be hopeful:

    • We have a new OMB. The new OMB replaced an OMB who failed to act on corruption cases against high government officials from the previous administration, including the former president. The new OMB presumably has this in mind.
    • The new OMB was reported to have undertaken reforms under its administration, including removing/ transferring officials reported to have failed in performing their duties and responsibilities under the previous administration.
    • The Complaint filed was filed by the government (through the leadership of the Department of Justice) after its own investigation of the case with the cooperation of concerned government agencies. Presumably, the case has solid grounding.
    • Given the third point, this administration, particularly the President, seems to be keen on seeing the case through.

      Still, monitoring, follow-up and assisting in the development of the complaint at the OMB is most crucial. And this is where media's constant reporting on the progress of the complaint, volunteer lawyers' assistance to OMB and CSO monitoring are the constructive actions forward.

  4. What we are seeing is how exactly the pork system (with the legislators meddling in the arena of policy execution) leads to the breakdown of checks-and-balance relationship between the executive and the legislature. The legislators involved were supposed to be checking and balancing the DBM (whether it was approving allocation of resources according to need and rules) and the IAs (whether they were being responsive to their mandates); while the DBM and COA were supposed to be checking and balancing the legislators. But no one was checking and balancing no one in the real sense. They were all "cooperating" disturbing the separation of powers. (For more detailed discussion on this, see link on my related Rappler article.)

This Complaint should be our opportunity to show we can hold power to account. It should also be an opportunity for us to bring the integrity of our political system. This Complaint should strengthen our call to ABOLISH PORK!