• Lawmaker denies keeping staff in possession of fake SARO

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    A lawmaker has disowned a Congressional staff who allegedly used a fake Special Allotment Release Order to secure Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

    Rep. Lilia Macrohon-Nuño of Zamboanga City made the stance in light of the statement issued by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. that it was her staff named Emmanuel Raza who possessed a fake SARO and attempted to course such fake document to the office of Rep. Baby Aline Alfonso-Vargas of Cagayan.

    Per Belmonte, the fake SARO was coursed to Alfonso’s office thru a staff from the House Appropriations panel named Jose Badong.

    “I don’t have a staff named Emmanuel Raza. I’m surprised, being a first-termer. It’s the first time I’ve heard about this. The staff [members]I have right now were formerly of my predecessor, Congressman [Erico] Fabian,” Nuño said in an interview.

    “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,” Nuño added.

    Belmonte has said that he would rather wait for the results of the probe done by National Bureau of Investigation before slapping sanctions on House employees who will be found liable of perpetuating fake SAROs.

    Nuño then disclosed that Raza might have misrepresented her office, considering that a lot of people swarmed her office at the start of her tenure, volunteering to take charge of the disbursement of her PDAF.

    Prior to the Supreme Court ruling last month which declared PDAF unconstitutional, each member of the House is entitled to P70 million worth of PDAF every year for the benefit of their respective constituents.

    Of the P70 million, P40 million are earmarked for infrastructure buildings such as schools, roads, bridges, government buildings such as hospitals and health centers, among others. The remaining P30 million is for scholarship grants and medical assistance.

    “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 pointed out.

    “If I cannot get project because I do not have PDAF, I can always go to the GAA and see if my district has projects in it, follow it up,” she added, referring to the General Appropriations Act,” she added in closing. LLANESCA T. PANTI

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