Senate President Franklin Drilon may have escaped scrutiny after his seemingly baffling ommission from the the respective versions of the Napoles List bandied by President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila De Lima, and former Senator and Philippine National Police Chief Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson, but he apparently did not escape the list of that other key Napoles List mongerer, Sandra Cam.According to Cam who reportedly got her list from an “unimpeachable” source, Drilon was in her list and the only senator there not included in De Lima’s and Lacson’s. Cam had also earlier accused Drilon of trying to silence her through Agrarian Reform Assistant Secretary Alex Almario who, Cam claims, has “close ties with Drilon.” Almario had reportedly admitted to dropping by Cam’s home on a “spur-of-the-moment” to “touch base” with her, Cam supposedly being a kababayan of his.
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Drilon, for his part, denies knowing Almario and having had any “anomalous transactions” with Napoles though he admits she is a “social acquaintance”. Indeed, back in September 2013, a photo of Drilon together with Napoles surfaced and went viral over the Net. This, of course, proves nothing — neither Drilon’s guilt nor innocence. Alleged pork barrel scam ringleader Janet Lim Napoles is likely to be just one of many other brokers of stolen pork funds, after all.
Many of the Philippines’ most astute political observers do agree, however, that Drilon is squarely in their personal unofficial lists of pork thieves. The stage has been set, after all, for a free-for-all for anyone who wants to table their own list of pork crooks. So anyone is fair game for any list mongerer.
It is no secret that Drilon’s purported personal wealth cannot be ignored. It was back in 2012 at the height of the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona, Drilon’s seemingly vast wealth was put in the spotlight owing to his brazen show of bias in favour of the prosecution despite being a “Senator-Judge” in that exercise. Throughout the trial, Drilon hardly even bothered to pretend to be an objective “senator-judge”, often taking it upon himself to plug conceptual gaps left gaping by the mediocre lawyering of the prosecution team.
Following revelations that President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III may have used what some regard to be the illegally-appropriated Disbursment Acceleration Program to bribe Senator-Judges into issuing a verdict “favourable” to his administration, there is some merit in questioning the source of this wealth. A March 2011 Journal.com.ph report revealed that a 1,542 square-metre property in über-expensive Forbes Park Village in Makati City is owned by Drilon’s stepdaughter Eduarda S. Genuino, but: “As far as Forbes Park neighbors know, the property belongs to the senator”. The report goes on to reveal that the “Forbes Park land is being linked to the Iloilo International Airport Project which Drilon oversaw during the time of President Joseph Estrada”. A bit more detail was provided by The Daily Tribune in a March 2012 report…
Documents earlier provided the Tribune also showed that Aquino’s chief Senate ally Sen. Franklin Drilon may have resorted to means to hide the purchase of a property at the country’s premiere rich man’s village Forbes Park.
Documents showed that in 2004, Eduarda S. Genuino, the single daughter of Mila Serrano Genuino and the late Vic Genuino, employed as an executive at Starbucks of the Tantoco Lopez family, purchased a foreclosed property worth P50 million at 17 Kawayan Road, North Forbes Park, Makati from the Bank of the Philippine Islands represented by senior vice president Senen Matoto.
The original owner of the lot was Amalio Montecillo who is married to a certain Manuel Montecillo. Genuino’s widowed mother Milagros married Sen. Franklin Drilon sometime in 2000.
The family resides at 49 Polk St. North Greenhills, San Juan M.M. which is also the residence of Sen. Drilon.
The source of the document asked how can a single lady with no other visible means of income aside from her Starbucks job purchase such an expensive property.
Indeed, perhaps it is true that where there is smoke, there is fire. Considering, however, that Drilon may for now be fortunate enough to have no money trail that leads to Napoles, he is likely to be in the clear. That is, unless Cam’s list is, indeed, sourced from the “unimpeachable”.
Drilon remains adamant that his pork is used only for real porky projects…
“I did not assign, not a single peso, of my PDAF allocation to any of Janet Napoles’ NGO’s,” Drilon said Thursday.
He added that all of the “substantial portion” of his PDAF allocation was given to only one NGO, the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“That’s the only NGO that I partnered with wherein we build classrooms worth half the price that government contractors ask,” he said.
According to Drilon, they have built around 1,600 classrooms using his PDAF allocation.
Drilon enjoys a number of personal defenders. Malaya columnist Ducky Paredes is one such. In an October 2013 article, Paredes asserts that Drilon has never used his pork allocation “for himself” and that the Filipino Federation of Chinese Chamber of Commerce is “the farthest thing from being a Napoles NGO.”
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.