The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) belied the allegations of the Kilusang Mangbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) in the plunder charges it filed earlier this week that it used the Malampaya funds in 2011.
The DAR asserted that none of the energy-gas funds flowed through the Department at any time within the term of the present administration.
DAR Spokesperson Undersecretary Anthony N. Paruñgao however added that there were indeed fund releases back in late 2010 and early 2011 alleged to have been misused by supposed fake NGOs.
This was covered by an Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) issued by the COA in March 2013. But Paruñgao emphasized that DAR’s own internal investigation on this matter was initiated by the DAR in 2012, months prior to the issuance of the AOM, and has already been referred to the DOJ.
“This 2010-2011 fund release issue was in fact already in the news late last year,” Paruñgao pointed out. On October 24, 2013, the DAR issued a press statement reporting its ongoing investigation on the matter.
Initial investigation reports show that the reportedly anomalous funds released in 2010 and 2011 were part of DAR’s 2010 appropriations which was prepared during the term of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The funds were released to thirteen NGOs in partnership with LGUs officially identified by Senator Gringgo Honasan and Senator Jinggoy Estrada.
Paruñgao pointed out that some of the DAR officials who were part of the 2010-2011 fund releases were also implicated in the 2009 DAR Malampaya Fund scandal.
“As we have mentioned to the press last year, the investigation on the 2010-2011 fund release issue had started as early as July 2012 upon the initiative of the Secretary,” Paruñgao stated.
Paruñgao relayed to the public the Secretary’s assurance that the DAR is committed to get to the bottom of the issue, that it will not hesitate to take other actions once culpability is clearly established, and it will fully cooperate in any and all investigation related to this matter.PNA