The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Ombudsman have been asked to investigate several allies of President Benigno Aquino 3rd who were not included in the first batch of the cases filed in connection with Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scheme.
The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) made the request, saying a Commission on Audit (COA) report may have uncovered another big pork barrel scam artist, whose operations could rival or surpass that of Janet Lim-Napoles.
In separate letter-complaints to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, the militant group attached copies of the COA report on the questionable projects of Sen. Cynthia Villar, her husband, former Sen. Manny Villar, Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. of Iloilo.
The Villars are stalwarts of the Nacionalista Party, which is an ally of the President’s Liberal Party. Tupas is the LP’s secretary general.
The BMP said Tupas’ PDAF went to sham non-governmental groups controlled by the Godofredo Roque Group.
In its complaint against Tupas, the group said the congressman siphoned more than half a billion pesos for the Godofredo Roque group.
Roque and his associates were able to receive P558 million for non-existent projects, the BMP said.
“Tupas admitted to COA that he signed the documents that gave the NGOs controlled by the Godofredo Roque Group the authority to receive the amount through Special Allocation Release Orders [SARO],” the BMP said.
Tupas was the lead prosecutor in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
The group said the congressman has betrayed the public trust on an even larger scale.
BMP cited a COA report noting that in 2008, Tupas spent a total of P106 million in pork barrel funds, or P36 million in excess of that supposedly allotted for a congressman.
In transactions involving Tupas, BMP alleged that the Roque group used two bogus companies under its control, J.L. Soriano Enterprises and C.C. Barredo Publishing House, to implement their “projects.”
“We call on the Ombudsman to conduct a fair and impartial probe on all those implicated in the pork scam, especially those whose participation in this wholesale raid of the public treasury cannot be reasonably justified,” BMP National President Leody de Guzman said.
The Villars, on the other hand, were allotted a total of P200 million in PDAF, for which they released a total of P168 million to soft projects in Las Piñas City from 2007 to 2009, the COA report said.
The BMP said the COA declared the disbursement of P151 million to the Villars’ projects as illegal because they did not comply with all the requirements under the Government Procurement Reform Act (RA 9184) and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.
Enacted in 2003, the law created an electronic database, and required companies wishing to enter into government supply contracts to register.
The electronic registry is meant to weed out delinquent suppliers.
The COA noted that among the documents the Villars failed to submit are: Printouts of copies of Advertisement, Notice of Award, Notice to Proceed and Contract in the PhilGEPS; Printout of advertisement in the Las Piñas City website; Certification by the Head of BAC Secretariat of Las Piñas City as to the posting of the advertisements at conspicuous places; and, in applicable cases, and Proof of publication in newspaper of general nationwide circulation.
“Even if the projects were completed and the intended beneficiaries actually received the benefits they needed, the mere failure to abide by the requirements of RA 9187 makes the entire disbursement illegal,” the BMP said.
It pointed out that of the soft project disbursements, the Villars allocated just over P14
million for the Congressional District Office of then Representative Cynthia Villar. BMP also said the Villars also allocated P34.16 million for medical and dental supplies to be administered by Sen. Manny Villar’s office. All told, almost P50 million personally passed through their hands as implementors.
BMP noted that in pages 94 to 95 of the report, the COA noted that at least P690 thousand was spent on projects constructed inside the couple‘s private property. “While this is small change compared to the scale of the Villar’s pillage of the public treasury, it only goes to show the extent the Villars will go through to ensure continued patronage,” the BMP said.
In other cases, the COA found that Manny and Cynthia Villar endorsed soft projects supplied by spurious suppliers, identified as those whose registrations, actual locations, or receipt printers could not be found. These suppliers received a total of P32.8 million.
The COA called out Marilyn Commercial, Jawoprint Enterprises, Silveran General Merchandise, Vesta Industries, and Seandre Enterprises for not being found at their registered addresses.
In particular, a search on the Internet for Seandre Enterprises linked the same to a certain Hershey Naldoza, who in her LinkedIn profile listed herself as a business partner of the Villars.
The COA also noted that the following suppliers had no appropriate permits and did not confirm the transactions: Gelo’s Advertising Services, Dynamic DA Trading, Morseco Marketing Corp., NEN Construction and Trading Inc., Polo Blue Paint Center, RCG, Nico Diversified Trading, and Denies Marketing.
The BMP said “the Ombudsman and de Lima should not allow the close relationship between the Villars and the administration as deodorant.”