04/29/2014, 00.00
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Philippines, Card. Tagle: Stop corruption, return the money of pork barrel scam

Manila Archbishop talked to Janet Lim-Napoles, alleged fraud mastermind. She said is ready to talk about the multi-billion racket.

Manila (AsiaNews/Cbcp) - Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles should return the money she supposedly stole and expose all those involved in the controversy.

This was the challenge made by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle to Napoles, who earlier expressed a desire to reveal everything she knew about the P10 billion scam.

"Tell the truth and return what is not yours. It is that easy," Tagle said.

"Justice demands for that, isn't it? Let's not make it any more complicated than it already is," he said.

Last Tuesday, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said that Napoles is ready to talk about the multi-billion racket.

De Lima also clarified that there was no commitment from the government for Napoles to be turned into a state witness, but they are not closing the door on such possibility.

Tagle stressed, whether a state witness or not, Napoles should tell the truth.

"Just tell the truth! Is it a necessity to be a state witness for one to tell the truth?" he said.

Created in 1990 as the Countrywide Development Fund (CDF), the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) is a discretionary endowment available to members of Congress.

It allows lawmakers to fund organisations, associations and small-scale infrastructure or community projects that fall outside the scope of the national infrastructure programme.

Used to buy votes, the PDAF has been a trough for pork barrelling, a practice that has come under strong criticism because of the abuse, corruption and malfeasance it generates to the tune of billions of pesos (especially in 1996 and 2013). 


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