• Massive cover-ups: Mystery NGOs and Abad’s obstructionist role

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    There’s more than meets the eye in this pork barrel scandal engulfing the nation. After nearly a year, the narrative has been firmly set but there are major, suspicious gaps. So far this is how it’s been played out in the media:

    The operator of this gargantuan pork barrel scam is Janet Lim-Napoles, a businesswoman from Basilan province who didn’t even go to college. Her accomplices: Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla; it’s just coincidental that they’re the leaders of the opposition. The long hand of justice is finally onto them, a milestone in our history.

    And there is a particularly sweet but angry kind of schadenfreude stirred in us when we see the high and mighty fall. Even history shows that the most timid of peasants and most loyal of subjects can be roused to a murderous frenzy to demand the beheading of kings, nobles, and dictators, if the right emotional buttons are pushed.

    But something is terribly wrong in this pork barrel narrative, if you look at the facts.

    Behind this national spectacle of three senators (for the first time in our history) being arrested and jailed like common criminals are three huge cover-ups. I’ll cover two in this column, with the third on Monday.

    The first involves a shadowy figure or group getting away, so to speak, with murder, probably laughing at how we can be so easily fooled.

    Who is “Mr. X”, Napoles’ rival in the pork-barrel scam business? Left, partially hidden, is Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, whom Napoles in her testimony claimed taught her how to use NGOs for the scam. Right, President Aquino in happier days with Napoles and daughter Jeane who flaunted her luxury lifestyle in the US in her Facebook accounts.

    Who is “Mr. X”, Napoles’ rival in the pork-barrel scam business? Left, partially hidden, is Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, whom Napoles in her testimony claimed taught her how to use NGOs for the scam. Right, President Aquino in happier days with Napoles and daughter Jeane who flaunted her luxury lifestyle in the US in her Facebook accounts.

    Based on the testimonies of whistle-blowers Benhur Luy and his associates, Napoles operated 10 fake non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that managed to receive pork-barrel funds totaling P2.2 billion from 2007 to 2009, purportedly for 131 “livelihood” projects.

    The Ombudsman has filed charges against the three senators for pocketing P581 million of these funds, for which the two have been jailed (with the elderly third, most likely in a police hospital).

    Cover-up No. 1

    The amount of P2.2 billion is certainly huge, a scandalous theft of taxpayers’ money on an unprecedented scale by Napoles’ NGOs.

    But nearly double that, P4 billion, were given to 18 other NGOs*, which Napoles had nothing to do with.

    This is based on the Commission on Audit’s (COA) 462-page special audit of the Priority Development Assistant Fund (PDAF) from 2007 to 2009 (Special Audits Report No. 2012-13, August 23, 2013).

    These even had the same set of “implementing agencies” (i.e. the agencies which actually turned over the money to the NGO) as Napoles’ operations: mainly, National Agribusiness Corp., Technology Resource Corp, Zamboanga del Norte Agricultural College Rubber Estate Corp., National Livelihood Development Corp., and the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

    Details of the operations of these “non-Napoles” NGOs the COA uncovered were similar to those of Napoles’ NGOs, as described by the whistleblowers.

    The NGO “Kabuhayan at Kalusugan ng Masa,” got P527 million in PDAF money, but according to the COA field investigation, and it was in a hole-in-the-wall office with three clerks, one computer, and three office tables. Two other addresses listed as its offices, upon investigation, were non-existent.

    The address of Aaron Foundation, which got P525 million in PDAF funds, turned out to be a vacant lot. Aaron, in fact, has the distinction of having the biggest “unliquidated” balance of P187 million. This means no government office was informed how it used the taxpayers’ money given to it for its “livelihood” projects. The COA found that the addresses given by 15 of the 18 NGOs were either vacant lots, non-existent or high-end residences whose caretakers denied knowledge of the NGOs.

    The COA could not find Pangkabuhayan Foundation, which received P396 million in pork barrel funds, or any of its officers. Owners of the dilapidated apartments that were supposed to be the NGO’s offices reported it had long vacated.

    Do we know who operated these 18 NGOs that got double the amount that Napoles’ NGOs got?

    We don’t have a clue. And why don’t we have any ideas who are behind these NGOs?

    The Justice department and the National Bureau of Investigation, which investigated the Napoles NGOs, and whose findings are the basis for the charges against her and the senators, didn’t spend even an hour investigating these non-Napoles NGOs.

    Luy and his associates, and the Philippine Daily Inquirer, pointed to Napoles as the pork barrel queen. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, the NBI, the press, and the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee nodded furiously, and went after her. That was the narrative they decided on.

    And it was not that there were no leads, or suspects to interrogate as the COA had the list of presidents and incorporators of the questionable NGOs.

    Table 20 of the COA report even had a list of ten people who were suspiciously connected to two or more of the NGOs. BenHur Luy is on this list as president of Napoles’ Social Development Program for Farmers’ Foundation, which had the biggest pork barrel proceeds of P585 million.

    But have you ever heard of, or is the NBI looking for, the following persons who were involved in at least two NGOs that got nearly as big PDAF as that of Luy’s: France Mercado, Genely Belleza, Godofredo Roque, “Joel L.”, one “Soriano”, Malou C. Ferrer, Myra Villanueva, and Mary Ann A. Exito? (Email me please, if you know these people so we can try finding out who is behind them.)

    Do you think those behind these non-Napoles NGOs, especially the 18 which got the biggest pork-barrel funds, are still in the country, that any document linking them to the scam still intact?

    I hope so, though I doubt that very much. But because of all these leads and evidence on mystery NGOs that were conveniently just left behind, at the very least, the DOJ led by Secretary Leila de Lima and the NBI should be indicted for obstruction of justice, or at least for criminal negligence in the performance of their duties.

    If the police raids an illegal drug factory, and just looks the other way as the majority of the criminals make their escape, what do you call that?

    The pork scam “business” is really a very small industry (it involved only eight government enties). It is impossible for Napoles not to know who the other operator or operators, and their patron in government was.

    Is her information the reason that she exuded such confidence when she was brought to the Senate, and why she had to be brought to Malacanang for the President himself to talk to her privately?

    Cover-up No. 2

    The COA audit listed 325 House of Representatives members and 17 senators (of the 13th and 14th Congress) who allocated their PDAF to the questionable NGOs and/or small infrastructure projects in which it also found serious anomalies.

    The Justice department though has singled out in its investigation and prosecution the three senators, and at the most—we will have to see—six other legislators, notably senators Gregorio Honasan, Enrile’s protege. The amount the Ombudsman claimed the three stole from the PDAF totals P581 million—or 9 percent of the total P6.2 billion PDAF disbursements the COA investigated.

    Why such patently selective investigation?

    The reason is in black and white in the COA report itself, and I have written about this before, even in September last year right after the audit was publicly released (“Aquino allies excluded from COA report,” August 18, 2013, and “DBM cover-up in COA ‘s pork barrel report,” September 2, 2013):

    “Despite repeated requests, the DBM did not provide the (COA) Team with the schedule of releases from PDAF per legislator. Thus, total releases for each legislator out of PDAF cannot be established, ” the team investigators complained early in its report on page 5.

    It repeated the complaint on page 28: “The total funds released for PDAF cannot be fully established by the Team because despite repeated requests from the DBM, the Team was not provided with total releases per legislator and per implementing agency. The Team was provided only with lists of releases out of VILP (Various Infrastructures Including Local Projects), which were not even complete.”

    Budget Secretary Florencio Abad—by all accounts Aquino’s brain and main operator—derailed the COA’s investigation by refusing to release documents that could have implicated their allies.

    But he freely released data on the three opposition senators. Abad provided data on 79 to 100 percent of the pork barrel funds of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon Revilla.

    In contrast, no documents at all were provided in the case of Senators Francis Escudero and Jamby Madrigal, who in fact were not mentioned in the entire COA report, as if they were not members of that 14th Congress.

    Abad’s cover-up also raises a very serious question: Does he have in his possession documents that could show that other legislators stole huge amounts from the pork-barrel fund, and therefore could be charged and arrested just as the three senators have been?

    Doesn’t these constitute blackmail material he could use to browbeat these former and current legislators to follow his and Aquino’s bidding?

    No wonder Congress, even with no pork barrel (at least in the scale and kind in the past) and no Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) moneys to bribe them, appears to be still a timid lot, with Aquino laughing off any talk of his impeachment.

    *The NGOs that were Napoles’ and those which were not, including their pork barrel allocations:

    table for porktiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
    www.rigobertotiglao.com FB: Rigoberto D. Tiglao

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    33 Comments

    1. Alejo Rosete on

      To Ambassador Tiglao – keep up the good work for the Filipino People – More power to you Ambassador.

      Looking at other Columnist/Journalist Column – you have the most number of response.

      Why? They agree with you. Your expose’e are well documented and the exposed and/or the administration personnel do not and/or cannot refute it. Example- Finance Secretary Purisma.

      However, other Columnist do not include your response if it is against their topic and/or
      do not like your comments. For or against your topic, we responded the way we think is right.

    2. mr. Tiglao sir,

      sana mag karuon ka ng programa sa radyo ng, maibalita mo sa nakakaraming pilipino

      kung anu nangyayari sa bulok nating gubyerno,. sana mag ingat kayo parati sir

      god bless.

    3. Kahit ilang expose Ng corruption ang maihayag sa sambayanang Pilipino walang mangyayayari. Nilamon na Ng corruption ang buong sistema Ng ating gobyerno. These politicians (majority of them) from local up to the national level are the root of all evils in our society. Unless we unite together with righteous military leaders…

    4. Jose Pepe Dimasalang on

      It is high time that DBM Secretary Butch aBAD be investigated if not by the DOJ/NBI but by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. This dishonorable man does want to resign because he has no delicadeza. He should also go to jail with the Pogi, Tanda and Sexy!

    5. Even before Napoles was charged with serious illegal detention by the NBI after some of their agents, together with Luy and co., attempted to extort millions from her but backed off when Napoles wrote the President a letter asking for his assistance, which PNoy received the same day and acted on it immediately (24 hrs.) instructing de lima to assist Napoles, there was already that interaction between Napoles and PNoy and THAT familiarity with each other should be the one investigated and explained. Mr. Tiglao, you wrote about it — Smoking Gun, but why aren’t others pursuing it? Napoles can get her letter to be received by PNoy on the same day? Who delivers it for her?

      • Napoles knows that she is already busted. That letter is one of her act that maybe she think can make her a guilty or a hero. But your president did not take her but only ride with her. For he thinks that Napoles is one of a kind swindler and thief. Napoles made another move by naming names that make her a hero, then applied as a state witness but failed. Haters to the president attempted to ride with her, but jump out because of her credibility as one of a kind swindler and thief. Who will believed her that she is not guilty.

    6. good day to all filipino,

      Simula pa lang ng magkaisip ako…alam ko na mayaman ang ating bansang PILIPINAS, lalo na sa panahon ni Marcos.Ngayon nasa edad na 45 ako muli kong nalaman sa inyo Mr. Tiglao na talagang mayaman ang ating BANSA..Subalit bakit hanggang ngayon ay marami parin kaming mga PILIPINO na nagpapakahirap sa ibang BANSA.Dahil sa BULOK na SYSTEMA ngayon ng ating BANSA lalo na sa PULITIKA..sana sa lahat ng mga naka upong opisyal ng ating gobyerno ay matutong matakot sa DIYOS at sa ating pangulo ngayon ay sana kayanin niyang bitbitin ang dalawa niyang BAYAG sa ano mang gusot ng ating BANSA…Mabuhay tayong mga PILIPINO lalo na sa mga taong katulad ninyo.

    7. This non Napoles NGO were already exposed long before and even a TV station made an attempt to locate & interview a certain Mr. Roque. However, this news was suddenly vanished in print / tv & suddenly the media concentrate only on Napoles. It seems there is a powerful group orchestrating this PDAP investigation event

    8. Good job Mr. Tiglao, but you must also watch your back. exposing such coverups are usually dangerous. I support you all the way.

    9. Benigno KUHA-KO AKIN-NA on

      kasama ang media sa cover-up…. lalabas din lahat ang mga ito…. keep up the good work Mr. Tiglao!

    10. Papa Mike Charlie on

      Mabuti’t walang nagawing mga lapdogs dito ngayon. Those who dislikes Mr. Tiglao’s exposes are free to go and lick the ass of your “boss”.

    11. Susmaryosep, lumalabas sa column na ito ni Mr Tiglao na 325 tongressmen ang nagbulsa ng kanilang mga PDAF. Pwede nating sabihin na 100 percent ng mga mambabatas sa mababang kapulungan ay puro corrupt.

    12. If Mr. Tigla’s expose is correct then I get the point that Abad and Pnoy are using the PDAF cover up ( withholding of PDAF documents releases. Per legislator from COA audit team to prevent public disclosure) as dossiers against these legislators (allies or opposition) to toe Aquino’s bidding in all of his agenda ( whether to derail an impeachment case if DAP is ruled unconstitutional; his legislative priorities and especially to support his anointed candidate in 2016 ) if not, the axes of prosecution for plunder similar to the high profile Senatros , will fall on the disobedient heads! In short, the cover up for those legislators involved and shown on withheld DMB documents re pork barrel usage, will be used as a BLACKMAIL tool to coerce these legislators to follow whatever Aquino will bid or tell them to do, especially if his DAP is ruled illegal and unconstitutional for he will lose his financial leverage to bribe legislators!

    13. jesus nazario on

      But the slogan just states an obvious reality: “KUNG WALANG KURAP, WALANG MAHIRAP.”. It does not say “KAYA UUBUSIN NAMIN ANG MGA KURAP.” So what are we crying about ?

    14. Ano ba ang gagawin natin?Ngayon ang mga kampon naman nila sa congreso ay nagbabalak na amyendahan ang constitution to perpetuate themselves from power. Dapat na tayong mag EDSA 4. Nung nahalal si Pnoy nagkaroon ng pagasa ang bawat isa pero kabaligtaran ang mga nangyayari. Poot ang umiiral. Para lang manatili sa kapangyarihan ay sisirain ang ibang tao at pagtatakpan ang mga kamalian. Kailan tayo magbabago. Ang mga Instik ay nasa bakuran na natin. sila ya tuwang tuwa sa nagyayari sa atin. Magpasakop nalang tayo kung ganito din ang kahihinatnan ng bawat isa.

    15. What should happen if all this is true is the next administration should check it out as im sure the paper trail is still there as you cant get rid of it. If it is found that the dbm didnt give this information to the coa then all in charge should be prosecuted & if found guilty given life in prison. There has to be a detterent to these people, they have to know if they take part in or help cover up any theft from the country they will die in prison. If you keep treating them like celebrities as you are doing now they will forever continue to plunder this country of all its tax monies. I watched an interview with lorna capusan & attorney ed yesterday & they spoke of nothing about this, no one does, why not. That lorna still thinks napolez should be treated as a state witness. Its a joke, she also said why are the bir comming after us lawyers when big corporations are stealing so much. But its the way here no one wants to get into trouble, why chase me chase someone else. The reason they are after you lawyers is you arnt paying your taxes, i would strip of them from ther bar as unfit to practice law. Where do you start in this country as its a complete shambles, who could be trusted to dio the right thing if they got into power, i think all would be just as corrupt as its so easy to get away with things in this country.

    16. Crescente H. Amor on

      Very important information, Mr. Tiglao. The NB, asthe NGO’s involve in the scm is concerned and DOJ preferred to look the other way, in relation to the other NGO’s not connected to Napoles. Hope the Filipino people will be enlightened and be more vigilant.

      • sorry, election is not a solution!!! no matter who you elect, it’s of the same banana.

    17. Samuel Santos on

      For those who don’t have enough time to consult the dictionary, here goes (LOL):

      scha·den·freu·de (shädn-froid)
      n.
      Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.

    18. Mr. Tiglao — thank you for this expose !

      I hope you follow up this issue in future columns and expose these crooks in the government.

      Makakasuka what these “government officials” are doing to the poor .

      Keep up the good work.

    19. This article only proves that the tentacles of the corruption scheme of King of Pork and Bribe, PNoy have gone to imaginable crooked levels. This also show the massive abuse of power by PNoy and his allies, yet they still can afford to keep on fooling the public with their endless lies and self-serving slogans. Let us hope that Coloma or Lacierda, to the least, attempt to contradict the facts of Mr. Tiglao’s article today. Folks, let us support Mr. Tiglao in his quest to find out the real inconvenient truth about how PNoy and his cohorts continue to rape and prostitute the wealth of the country for their own selfish ends. Who ever knows any information of the personalities mentioned in this article and email Mr. Tiglao will do the country a great service. You will be heroes once the guilty will be jailed.

    20. that only tells us how much grip pnoy has on all of his men and women. this is as corrupt of a government as you get. puts all past administrations to shame. they did not even come close to what it is with the present one. i suppose this is what pnoy means by the tuwid na daan concept. even if the freedom of information act is passed, which i doubt will happen on pnoy’s watch, if these are the kind of people running the government, everything will fail.

    21. Well said Sir! I may just add, the government emphasized it’s a 10 billion scam! Assuming (for the purpose of acctng) 3 senators got 0.6B, Napoles and company got
      2B, where are the rest 7.4B?

    22. Alejo Rosete on

      Ambassador Tiglao – you are a very exceptional Columnist/Journalist. More power to you and God Bless.

      Thank you very much Mr. Ambassador for exposing all these corruptions/anomalies that is happening in our country.

      Mayaman pala ang Pilipinas. Bakit naghihirap ang mga Pilipino lalong-lalo na ang mga masa?

      The answer is: KUNG WALANG CORRUPT AY WALANG MAHIRAP.

      Since the time of President Ramon Magsaysay – I am a vivid reader of newspapers, specially relating to “Political issues”. This Administration is the worst of them all.

      Mabuti pa ang “Martial Law Administration” of President Marcos – the first 3 years of Martial Law is very good, but after that, Power is Absolute and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

      The son of a “Hero” – Senator Ninoy Aquino
      The son of the Most Religious President Cory Aquino – who restored democracy

      Now the son, President BS Aquino – The Opposite. Nakahiya

      Kung walang corrupt walang mahirap – tama, the most corrupt administration.

      This is worse than the Martial Law of President Marcos – At least, Marcos respected the Supreme Court. Now what – the President also wanted to put the Supreme Court under his thumb.

    23. Please keep up the good work on exposing the pork barrel scandal. I sincerely hope that someone or some nationalistic and idealistic group in the AFP will take notice and do something to save our country from these rapacious politicians. On second thought, I may be asking for the moon since the AFP has shown neither courage nor nationalism in defending national interests (i.e., Spratlys and Bangsamoro substate). The AFP has been infected with the corruption afflicting our politicians and, I hope to be wrong, has become an inutile headless chicken and a spineless wimp like its Commander-In-Chief.