Ombudsman probes scam patterned after Napoles
More non-government organi-zations (NGOs) suspected to have been used by lawmakers and their cohorts in siphoning off millions of pesos in government funds into their pockets are in the Ombudsman’s cross hairs.
Some of the NGOs under probe are not linked to suspected pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, Assistant Ombudsman Asryman Rafanan told reporters on Thursday.
Napoles, who is already serving sentence after getting convicted for detaining pork barrel scam whistleblower Benhur Luy, is on trial for separate plunder and graft cases filed by the Office of the Ombudsman before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan.
Three senators and five former lawmakers are among her co-accused in the case linked to the multimillion-peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel fund scam.
“Yes I think the investigation is ongoing on those cases… whether these cases involve a Napoles NGO or a non-Napoles NGO. Where the case presents an investigative lead, the Ombudsman has initiated the field investigation,” Rafanan said.
Last July, the Office of the Ombudsman found ground to file graft and malversation charges against former representatives Alvin Sandoval of the lone district of Malabon and Navotas Cities and Candido Pancrudo Jr. of Bukidnon’s first district as well as several officials of NGOs and implementing agencies (IAs) over alleged misuse of the lawmakers’ PDAF allocations.
Also named respondents were officials from the IA Technology Resource Center (TRC), National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor) as well as the NGOs Pangkabuhayan Foundation Inc. (PFI), Dr. Rodolfo A. Ignacio Sr. Foundation Inc. (DRAISFI), Jacinto Castel Borja Foundation Inc. (JCBFI) and Uswag Pilipinas Foundation Inc. (UPFI).
When asked if it was the first time a non-Napoles NGO was involved, Rafanan replied, “Yes I think the first few batches involved Napoles NGOs but this is the first time or first set of resolutions… involving non-Napoles NGOs.”
The modus operandi, he said, “appears to approximate the same scheme or the same process employed by the Napoles NGOs” but that the cases do not tell the extent of the network or how many the NGOs were.
The cases stemmed from a complaint filed by the Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office (FIO) before the Office of the Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman may motu propio (on its own) conduct a probe apart from the effort of the National Bureau of Investigation, which is under the Department of Justice.