MANILA, Philippines - Sen Jinggoy Estrada, one of 3 senators recommended for plunder charges by the Department of Justice (DOJ), first associated with Janet Lim Napoles in 2004 and received millions in rebates up until 2012.
According to the transmittal letter attached to the complaint the DOJ submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman on Monday, September 16, Estrada channeled his Priority Development and Assistance Funds (PDAF) to 5 of Napoles' bogus non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from 2004-2012.
He last received rebates in 2012, in the amount of P9.75 million — in cash.
According to the testimony of Napoles' personal assistant turned primary whistleblower Benhur Luy, Estrada received the following amounts in the corresponding years:
Estrada's rebates sum up to P183,794,750 million over the course of 8 years. The only year he did not receive a kickback since he started being associated with Napoles was 2011.
All transactions, according to Luy, were received by his staff members Pauline Labayen and Ruby Tuason, in cash. Labayen and Tuason have also been charged, along with their boss.
Estrada, along with Senators Bong Revilla and Juan Ponce Enrile, are accused of siphoning their pork barrel into fake NGOs of created by Napoles in exchange for rebates. Of the 3, only Estrada received rebates in 2012.
Napoles too faces charges of plunder.
Late starter, biggest earner
While Estrada is said to have received money most recently, it is Revilla who is said to have gotten the biggest amount in kickbacks.
This, despite being the latest among the 3 senators to start working with Napoles.
According to the cover letter on Revilla, he first channeled his PDAF to 9 of Napoles' 10 NGOs in 2006 — two years later than Enrile and Estrada. He is noted to have received the following amounts:
Revilla is reported to have collected P224,512,500 million pesos over the course of 4 years, or half the time Estrada is said to have worked with Napoles.
Luy said Revilla received his rebates in cash through his staff Richard Cambe, who also faces raps.
6 years with Napoles
Enrile, the 3rd senator facing plunder charges, received the least amount in rebates among the 3. He is said to have used 9 of Napoles' NGOs to collect his PDAF from 2004-2010.
The letter said Enrile received P172,834,500 million total in cash through his chief of staff Jessica "Gigi" Reyes — also charged — and Tuason.
The division is as follows:
In a Senate hearing with the Blue Ribbon Committee on Thursday, September 12, Luy testified that Napoles' business slowed down in 2010 under the Aquino administration because of tighter regulations by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
He said Napoles started targeting local government units instead from 2010-2012, explaining why Enrile and Revilla's transactions with Napoles' NGOs appear to have ended in 2010.
Estrada however, allegedly managed to pocket close to P10 million just last year.
In 2011, the Commission on Audit (COA) started a special audit on how lawmakers used their PDAF from 2007-2009. The 3 senators were asked to confirm the authenticity of their signatures on various documents that facilitated the release of their pork barrel.
Both Revilla and Enrile confirmed the authenticity of their own or their authorized representatives' signatures.
Only Estrada did not reply to the request for confirmation of COA.
The COA audit report also noted that the 3 senators worked with other NGOs as well, not associated with Napoles. Verification of these NGOs' legitimacy is still ongoing.