AT least 97 local chief executives who supposedly profited from the Malampaya gas project fund scandal were not charged by Department of Justice (DOJ) in exchange for their support for senatorial bid of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, according to the unsigned affidavit attributed to Janet Lim-Napoles.
In the 30-page affidavit, Napoles claimed that lawyer Levito Baligod, who used to represent Benhur Luy, talked to the mayors who areimplicated in the Malampaya fund scam and told them that they will be dropped from the case if they backed De Lima’s campaign.
The affidavit was submitted Tuesday by rehabilitation secretary Panfilo Lacson to the Senate Blue Ribbon committee.
De Lima, who has admitted having a copy of the Napoles affidavit, has refused to disclose its contents, insisting that she needs to evaluate them first.
In 2009, P900 million was released from the Malampaya fund supposedly to assist local government units ravaged by Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.
The fund represents royalties of the Philippine government from the natural gas exploration project in Palawan.
During the same year, Napoles said Ruby Tuazon asked if she wants to be in on a scheme to make millions by misappropriating the Malampaya fund.
Tuazon was asking for a 60 percent commission from the racket. Napoles agreed as long as she got a five percent commission, excluding the 35 percent production cost for agricultural equipment that will be distributed to the typhoon-stricken local government units.
Napoles said Tuazon gave her the list of 97 mayors and instructed her to rush everything because the 2010 national elections were approaching and that the mayors would be using the funds for their campaign.
“We are also pressured to do it considering that we have given the advance payment of 60 percent commission as agreed upon,” Napoles said.
When the group of Napoles was about to deliver the supposed materials to the local chief executives, Tuazon instructed her to deliver cash instead because the mayors would use the money to fund their campaign.
Napoles refused at first but ultimately had to comply because she wanted to get back the cash advances she had already released to Tuazon.
She said that after the Malampaya fund transaction was completed she learned that Tuazon was able to build a house in Dasmarinas Village worth P300 million.
“Aside from the P900 million Malampaya fund, Ruby was also able to bring in different project insertions of other politicians amounting to P50 million and P300 million,” Napoles said.
She found out later that none of the 97 local officials were named in the case filed by the DOJ before the Office of the Ombudsman.
In October last year the DOJ filed a plunder complaint against 22 individuals, including former President Gloria Arroyo, her former executive secretary Eduardo Ermita, and Napoles in connection with their supposed involvement in the Malampaya fund mess.
Also in the complaint were former Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman, his former undersecretary Narciso Nieto and finance officer Teresita Panlilio and several heads of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) being linked to Napoles.
In a chance interview at the Senate, Baligod branded the Napoles affidavit and the “Napolist” as filled with lies and deceit aimed at clouding the pork barrel scam issue.
Baligod denied he talked to the 97 mayors and asked them to support De Lima’s senatorial campaign.
He said investigators from the office of the Ombudsman visited the 97 municipalities and their mayors and found that their signatures were forged.
In the affidavit, Napoles gave a step by step description of how she carried out the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.
It starts when she learns through agents or go-betweens sent by certain senators or congressmen of the funds at the lawmakers’ disposal. She and the agents discuss the amount to be released and agree on commissions.
Among the agents she dealt with were Tuazon, Maya Santos, Matt Ranillo, Patricia Tan, Jen Corpuz and Allan Ruste.
There were times when lawmakers asked her to advance part of their commission.
After receiving the advance, the lawmaker sends a request for appropriation or allotment with the Senate’ finance committee. The committee submits the request for appropriation to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) which would prepare the special allotment release order (SARO).
Napoles will ask for the copies of the documents pertaining to the request for appropriation or allotment made by the lawmaker as proof that it has already been forwarded to the DBM. The lawmaker gets the full commission only after the SARO is released.
The SARO will go to the chosen implementing agency like the Technological Resource Center (TRC); National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC) National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR); Department of Agriculture (DA) or the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
The implementing agency chooses from among the NGOs Napoles recommends to implement the project.
Once the implementing agency receives the SARO a memorandum of agreement will be signed between the lawmaker, the head of the agency and the NGO representative. Napoles’ group follows up the release of the fund.
Napoles said the main reason why her NGOs are often chosen is because she can can guarantee a 50 percent commission.