Anti-corruption authorities in the Philippines are preparing to arrest three powerful senators after they were indicted Friday by an anti-graft court.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she was confident there was enough evidence to move forward, the Gulf Times reported.
“The evidence included testimony from whistleblowers involved in the alleged corruption and documents from government agencies showing that funds were siphoned off,” de Lima said.
She said arrests could come within two weeks. Approval from the executive branch is needed.
A special anti-graft court, the Sandiganbayan, indicted senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon “Bong” Revilla and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada on the non-bailable charge of “plunder,” or massive graft.
Enrile, 90, was the chief enforcer of martial law under Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s. Estrada, 51, is the son of former president and movie star Joseph Estrada. Revilla, 47, is a showbiz star, as well as the son of another movie star-turned-senator.
Five of their staffers and a businesswoman, Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged masterminded of the scam, were also indicted.
If convicted, Enrile, Estrada and Revilla could face life in prison.
The defendants allegedly allocated millions of dollars from their official funds to phony non-government organizations which then paid them huge kickbacks.
The senators are all from an opposition political group.
Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.