The staff of the lawmaker who allegedly used a fake Special Allotment Release Order to secure fund release from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) has filed a one month leave, it was learned on Tuesday.
Rep. Lilia Macrohon-Nuño of Zamboanga City made the disclosure after Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. claimed tat it was her staff, Emmanuel Raza, who possessed the fake SARO. Belmonte said the fake SARO was sent to the office of Rep. Baby Aline Alfonso-Vargas of Cagayan thru a staff of the House Appropriations panel named Jose Badong.
“I’m waiting for him [Raza]. He did not report to work today. He comes here regularly. I only knew him as Manny. I did not know he was Emmanuel. I did not even know his surname. This is my own lapse,” Nuño said.
Raza, in a letter to Nuño, admitted that he is being investigated by the National Bureau of Investigation and that he needs a month to address the issue and clear his name.
Raza serves as Nuño’s political affairs assistant. He was one of the three staff members of former Rep. Erico Fabian whom she rehired for her tenure.
“I am mad because he stained my name. It’s a big blow [to my reputation]. I did not hire anyone new when I came here in Congress, just my driver. He is being investigated by the NBI so I will let the law take its course. I would not know if he is a fixer, but he cannot operate by himself,” Nuño added.
Nuño maintained that she has nothing to do with the fake SAROs or any irregularity concerning PDAF.
“I have been in my post for barely five months and I am not involved in any dubious transaction. I don’t even know about the SARO since I didn’t follow up any project that has been pending during the time of Congressman Fabian because I am looking at the projects for 2014,” she told reporters.
“When I assumed office, there were a lot of people who came to me, telling me they would be the one to handle my PDAF. I said no, definitely, because I will handle it myself,” she said.