De Lima refuses to confirm report on lawmakers to be rapped with plunder

MANILA, (PNA) — Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima on Wednesday neither confirmed nor denied a published report about senators and congressmen allegedly included in the first batch to be charged with plunder before the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the pork barrel scam.

In an ambush interview, De Lima said she does not know why the names of the lawmakers were published in a newspaper of general circulation.

When she read the report, De Lima said, she immediately called up Atty. Levito Baligod, counsel of the whistleblowers, to inquire from him whether the information came from him.

Although Baligod was interviewed by the media, De Lima said, he did not name names and he only cited at least five government officials will be charged with plunder with Napoles.

De Lima added even Baligod himself was surprised in the surfacing of the said names of the lawmakers.

It was earlier published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer that Senators Juan Ponce Enrile; Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada; Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr.; and Gigi Reyes; who was the former chief of staff of Enrile, were among those to be charged with plunder before the Ombudsman.

Also allegedly to be charged are former Congressmen Prospero Pichay, Rodolfo Tuason, Edgar Valdez and Rizalina Seachon-Lanete.