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Manila files corruption cases against three senators for misuse of funds

Published on Apr 1, 2014 7:30 PM

MANILA (REUTERS) – Philippine government prosecutors will file plunder cases in an anti-graft court against three senators for misuse of congressional funds worth billions of pesos, a breakthrough in Manila’s fight against corruption, officials said on Tuesday.

President Benigno Aquino, who took office in 2010 on a promise of good governance and battling graft, enjoys popularity ratings of more than 70 per cent, but the Philippines remains one of the most corrupt countries in East Asia.

The three senators – Juan Ponce Enrile, former movie actor Ramon Revilla Jr and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, son of former president and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada – were found to have amassed 172 million pesos (S$4.8 million), 242 million pesos and 183 million pesos, respectively, from illegal kickbacks.

“The three senators took undue advantage of their official position to illegally divert their congressional allocations in exchange for kickbacks, with the projects turning out to be ghost projects,” the Office of the Ombudsman, an agency that investigates and prosecutes corruption, said in a statement.

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