Agriculture official linked to P30-M non-pork scam

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A ranking official of the Department of Agriculture (DA) may soon find himself in serious trouble for allegedly using a forged signature of Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd for a memorandum of agree-ment involving the disbursement of at least P30-million non-Priority Development Assistance Fund (non-PDAF) to several local governments last year.

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Pimentel, in a privileged speech delivered on Tuesday, said that besides asking the concerned Senate committee to investigate the alleged anomalous fund disbursement, he will also be filing falsification complaints before the office of the Ombudsman against DA Undersecretary Antonio Fleta.

This is in connection with the memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed between Fleta and Gov. Johnny Pimentel of Surigao del Sur involving the organic agriculture fund (OAF) administered by the DA.

According to Pimentel although the MOA was between the DA and the provincial government of Surigao del Sur, his name was mentioned in the document as the chosen beneficiary of a certain amount and the one who picked the province as the implement- ing agency.

The senator also admitted that he only managed to learn about his supposed involvement in the agreement through the informa-tion provided by Rep. Terry Redon of the Kabataan party-list.

“The manner that it was done that you are mentioned in the whereas clause and you do not even know anything about it, and then the DA would not even inform the legislator about it, then something is terribly wrong with the DA,” he stressed.

Based on the information obtained by the senator the amount involve in the OAF is around P100 million but the MOA where his name was mentioned involved P10 million.

Pimentel said the discovery of the said modus operandi raises serious concerns because there is a huge possibility that the names of legislators are being used by some syndicates operating in the DA in connivance with the officials.

“It is masterminded within the department because the dispen-sation and the release of funds can only be done in that department,” he added.

When his office tried to get clarification from DA, Pimentel said that Fleta even sent him a letter stating that, “they are glad to be of service to the good senator,” referring to the project made through a MOA where his name appeared.

Pimentel’s speech was referred to the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, which will carry out the probe.

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