Two supposed farmer-beneficiaries of projects allegedly funded by Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) have denied receiving agricultural packages from anyone.
The two farmers took the witness stand in the hearing on the petition for bail of Janet Lim-Napoles, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s co-accused in a P172-million plunder case in connection with the pork barrel scam, before the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division.
Rogelio Dela Cruz and Leonardo Corpuz—both from Umingan, Pangasinan—said in their sworn statements that they did not receive farm tools.
Taking the witness stand, Dela Cruz affirmed on direct examination that he did not receive an Agricultural Improvement Livelihood Package in 2009 and 2010.
Asked by the prosecutor how he understood the said package, Dela Cruz, who has been a farmer since1995, said “gamit ng magsasaka” and mentioned sprayers and fertilizers.
The witness testified that the signature opposite his name on the list of beneficiaries was not his.
Questioned by Napoles’ lawyer Lanee David on cross examination, Dela Cruz said he only knew his name was included in the list when investigators from the Office of the Ombudsman went to their place.
Further asked from which implementing agency he was supposed to have received the agricultural package, Dela Cruz replied: “Sabi nila sa PDAF daw ng mga senador.”
Corpuz next took the witness stand and also affirmed that he did not receive farm tools, and that the signature on the list of beneficiaries was not his.
He also said that the first time he saw the list was when investigators from the Office of the Ombudsman, who asked if he received farm implements, went to their place.
“Are you sure that you are the only Leonardo Corpuz in Umingan?” defense lawyer David asked him, to which the witness replied in the affirmative.
Narcisa De Guzman, Municipal Agriculturist of General Tinio in Nueva Ecija, also testified.
In her sworn statement, she said that her office has no knowledge of the supposed fund releases when asked if she was aware that her municipality was chosen as a recipient of 216 pieces of agricultural kits amounting to P4.86 million sometime in 2008.
The project was allegedly being implemented through the initiative of the National Agribusiness Corporation in cooperation with the Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation, Inc., which is allegedly controlled by Napoles.
“The municipality has not received any fund whatsoever,” De Guzman said.
“I categorically state that the List of Beneficiaries shown to me was not prepared by my Office. I would like to state further that the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist has a master list of all farmers in the Municipality of Gen. Tinio, Nueva Ecija. I undertake to submit said documents for official reference,” she said, when Ombudsman investigators showed her the list of supposed recipients of the 216 kits.