The line taken by some of the 23 senators and 334 congressmen named by the Commission on Audit (COA) report on how P115 billion of pork barrel money for the years 2007, 2008 and 2009 was used is that they gave the funds to the so-called implementing agencies (IAs). They didn’t know what happened to the money after that, whether it was gobbled up by fake or bogus or non-existent NGOs, wasted on useless things, or simply pocketed by thieves.
In criminal procedure, according to a lawyer, such line is equivalent to an alibi. The suspect was not at the scene of the crime at the time the crime was being committed and therefore, he or she should not be blamed for it. An alibi is the weakest defense.
Our politicians—the president, vice president, members of the cabinet, senators and congressmen—are among the best educated Filipinos. They are our political elite, the best of our race. They are not stupid. They cannot invoke alibi.
In the Senate, for instance, except for a couple of coup plotters and another couple of movie actors, most of its 24 members (16 senators) studied at the University of the Philippines, the best institution of higher learning in this country. UP, however, has produced the best minds and the worst thieves in this country.
Many of its alumni are holding what you call “responsible” positions in government. They are responsible for the thievery going on in government on a massive scale and yet they don’t feel responsible for that plunder (the alibi).
Pork barrel is a tale of pillage and plunder never before seen in this country since Genghis Khan. Among senators and congressmen, the pie is more than P25 billion a year—P200 million per senator per year, P70 million per congressman per year.
As for President BS Aquino, well, former National Treasurer Leonor Briones of Social Watch Philippines estimates his Special Purpose funds at P449.95 billion. The P450 billion is mentioned in the 2014 National Budget simply as one-line items. The 2014 budget has total expenditure of P2.268 trillion (2,268 billion pesos). Of that amount, only 1,162 billion pesos or P1.162 trillion can be examined as budgets of the various departments and agencies.
That P450 billion of Special Purpose funds can be disbursed by just one man, the President, makes the 2014 budget “vulnerable,” to use Leonor Briones’ warning.
Actually, the pork of BS Aquino could be much bigger. Of the P2.268- trillion 2014 budget, only P1.161 trillion is appropriations, leaving P1.1 trillion unappropriated or lump sums—P2,268 billion less P1,161 billion. Thus, BS Aquino has actually P1.1 billion of pork barrel, 49 percent or half of the total budget. Much of that money cannot be scrutinized by a docile Congress, which under the Constitution has the power of the purse). The President is responsible for 50 of every P100 spent by the government.
Congress does not do its job because its members have already been bribed—with P70 million pork a year for congressmen, and P200 million for each senator a year.
The implementing agencies or IAs are the Department of Agriculture, Department of Public Works and Highways, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Also reckoned as IAs are the Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC), the National Livelihood Development Corp., the National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor), and the Zamboanga del norte Agricultural College (ZNAC) Rubber Estate Corp. (ZREC).
Also used as IAs were the city governments of Manila (including 12 barangays), Quezon (including 94 barangays), Taguig (including three barangays), Las Piñas, Tabaco, Iriga, Naga and Panabo, as well as the provincial governments of Tarlac, Bataan, Nueve Ecija, Compostela Valley, and Davao Oriental.
The topnotcher senators in pork barrel from 2007 to 2009 are Juan Ponce Enrile, P904.5 million; Edgardo Angara, P862.645 million; Ramon Revilla Jr., P853 million; Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, P825.150 million; Miriam Santiago, P551.850 million; Manuel Lapid, P366.7 million; Alan Peter Cayetano, P351M; Gregorio Honasan, P348 million; Juan Miguel Zubiri, P316.4 million and Richard Gordon, P246.3 million. A senator should get only P600 million maximum in three years, at P200 million per year.
The topnotcher congressmen in pork barrel from 2007 to 2009 are Manuel Zamora, P3,209.1 million; Prospero Nograles, P604.5 million; Neptali Gonzales II, P395 million; Edcel Lagman, P346.961 million; Philip Pichay, P300 million; Ma.
Milagros Magsaysay, P267.751 million; Junie Cua, P248.910 million; Rizalina Seachon-Lanete, P233.55 million; Pedro Pancho, P231.064 million and Alvin Sandoval, P230.950 million. A congressman should get only P210 million maximum in three years, at P70 million per year.
Now I know what an oxymoron is. An oxymoron is a Greek word that combines contradictory terms. By its definition, a non-government organization (NGO) is a company or civic group that is not owned or controlled by the government. In the attempt to launder hundreds of millions of pork barrel money, government officials have invented an oxymoron—a government-owned, controlled or managed organization—government NGO.
Two government NGOs stand out—the ZNAC Rubber Estate Corp. (ZREC) and National Agri-Business Corporation (NABCOR). ZREC) handled P272.57 million in 2008 and 2009 for procurement of farm implements and seeds, trainings (seminars) and financial assistance.
Three suppliers involved in P92.81 million denied transacting with ZREC; 35 suppliers have unknown addresses; 27 of them have no business permits. Four firms were using the same Tax Identification Number. Fifteen mayors who were supposed to receive vermin-composting facilities denied receiving them.
One hundred twenty seven recipients had unknown addresses.
Thirty-one LGU officials said beneficiaries did not come from their respective constituencies. Senators Bong Revilla (P9.7 million) and Juan Ponce Enrile (P74.69 million) confirmed their signatures in all documents submitted by ZREC. Senator Jinggoy Estrada (P184.3 million) did not reply to COA request for confirmation.
Meanwhile, three legislators used Nabcor in 2007 and 2008: P20.37 million by Senator Jinggoy, P3.88 million by party-list Rep. Rene Velarde, and P9.458 million by Rep. Rachel Arenas, for a total of P33.7 million. They refused to confirm their signatures.
Their projects covered trainings with training materials provided by 36 suppliers. COA could not establish the existence of suppliers.
Payment to 22 suppliers amounting to P22.11 million was not supported by receipts and invoices but by mere acknowledgement receipts without any indicated address.
Eleven other suppliers in P7.05 million transactions are unknown in their given addresses and have no permits to operate. Printers of receipts of suppliers cannot be located at their given addresses. Existence of beneficiaries could not be ascertained.