P500M allegedly misused in Napoles-like transactions
The former lawyer of “pork barrel” scam whistleblower Benhur Luy on Wednesday filed a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman against 20 incumbent and former lawmakers for malversation through falsification of public documents.
Levito Baligod has asked the Office of the Ombudsman to look into the alleged misuse of some P500 million in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)–infamously known as the pork barrel–that was disbursed through non-government organizations (NGOs) from 2007 to 2009.
The NGOs are not associated with Janet Lim-Napoles, the suspected mastermind of the pork barrel scam who is now on trial for her alleged involvement in anomalous transactions.
Among those named in Baligod’s complaint were Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon Revilla Jr. and former senator Edgardo Angara.
Enrile and Revilla are already on trial for plunder and graft in connection with the pork barrel scam allegedly masterminded by Napoles.
Enrile, who was under hospital arrest for over a year, was recently released after the Supreme Court allowed him to post bail.
Revilla, meanwhile, remains in detention at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame in Quezon City.
Others named in Baligod’s complaint were:
Former Speaker Prospero Nograles Jr., Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) director-general Joel Villanueva, Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr., YACAP party-list Rep. Carol Jayne Lopez, Albay Rep. Al Francis Bichara, Bulacan Rep. Arturo Robes, Negros Occidental Rep. Julio Ledesma 4th, former Catanduanes Rep. Joseph Santiago, former Bohol Rep. Roberto Cajes, former Aklan Rep. Florencio Miraflores,
former Laguna Rep. Edgar San Luis, former Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonino, former Albay Rep. Reno Lim, former Laguna Rep. Maria Evita Arago, former Pangasinan Rep. Ma. Rachel Arenas, former Oriental Mindoro Rep. Alfonso Umal and former Misamis Occidental Rep. Marina Clarete.
Villanueva, Tupas and Lopez denied their alleged involvement in the scam.
The PDAF in question in Baligod’s complaint, “in the aggregate amount of P490.68 million,” were those allocated to the National Agri-Business Corp. (Nabcor), one of the implementing national government agencies that was also implicated in the alleged Napoles-led scam.
The money allegedly “went to other NGOs through the solicitation of other service providers” that used the same scheme as the one allegedly used by Napoles.
But according to Baligod, unlike the Napoles-related pork barrel charges, his complaint is supported by statements of former employees of the NGOs, former employees of the lawmakers and former employees of Nabcor.
“Ang gusto po nating tahakin ng imbestigasyon ay ‘yung ma-establish natin ung malversation through falsification of public documents [The path that we want the investigation to take is for us to establish malversation through falsification of public documents],” he told reporters.
“When the DOJ [Department of Justice] was investigating the Napoles NGOs, they also investigated all PDAF funds involving non-Napoles NGOs. In other words, all the documents pertaining to PDAF scam are already in the possession of DOJ but the DOJ is not acting on these by filing the appropriate cases so the former witnesses there approached us to share what they know,” Baligod said.
He also submitted a joint affidavit executed by Bernadette Ricalde and Katherine Namoro, who identified themselves as former employees of Rep. Arturo Robes of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan and another affidavit from former Nabcor employees Victor Cacal and Rhodora Mendoza.
Cacal and Mendoza have already been charged with graft in connection with the Napoles-related pork barrel scam.
Ricalde and Namoro alleged that they were “knowledgeable about certain illegal activities committed by” Robes concerning implementation of various projects involving two NGOs allegedly controlled by Robes and his wife Florida–Workphil Foundation Inc. and Sagip Buhay People Support Foundation Inc.
The two NGOs received at least P2 million of government funds “and the implementation and liquidation were all attended with gross or serious irregularities,” they alleged, saying the spouses also allegedly used other NGOs as conduit for Rep. Robes’ PDAF allocation.
Baligod is also charging Commission on Audit (COA) and Nabcor officials.
“’Yung COA, hindi nila dini-describe kung paano nawaldas ‘yung pera. In fact, I begrudge the COA in the sense that it never issued notices of credit… Isang katanungan na simple: Halimbawa, ngayon natanggap ng Nabcor ‘yung pondo, ngayong araw rin binayaran ‘yung NGO. Nasaan ang bureaucratic process to validate the program and the NGO [COA does not say how the money was squandered. It never issued notices of credit… One simple question: For example, Nabcor got the fund today, the NGO got paid also today. Where is the bureaucratic process to validate the program and the NGO]?” Baligod said in a news conference.
“[Our] allegation [is that]some [COA] officials received favors from top Nabcor officials,” he added.
Based on the documents provided in the complaint, Angara and Enrile allegedly awarded P20 million and P15 million, respectively, to the Kagandahan ng Kapaligiran Foundation Inc. while Revilla allegedly awarded P10 million to Saint James the Apostle Multi-purpose Cooperative.
Tupas allegedly awarded P5 million to the Kabuhayan at Kalusugan Alay sa Masa Foundation; Lopez, P14 million to Kagandahan ng Kapaligiran Foundation Inc; Robes, P3 million to Kaisa’t Kaagapay Mo Foundation Inc. and P5 million to Kapuso’t Kapamilya Foundation Inc; Ledesma, a total of P27 million to Kaisa’t Kaagapay Mo Foundation Inc.; and Bichara, a total of P18 million to Kaisa’t Kaagapay Mo Foundation Inc.
Villanueva allegedly awarded P10 million to Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc., P5 million to Kaagapay Magpakailanman Foundation Inc. and P10 million to Infinite Community Integrated Development Support Foundation Inc; Nograles, a total of P36 million to Kapuso’t Kapamilya Foundation Inc. and a total of P60 million to Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc; Miraflores paid P4.848 million directly to the supplier without public bidding; Umali, P4.8 million to Kaagapay Magpakailanman Foundation Inc;
Lim, a total of P28.435 million to Kagandahan ng Kapaligiran Foundation Inc. and P5 million to Gabaymasa Development Foundation Inc;
Santiago, P5 million to Kabuhayan at Kalusugang Alay sa Masa Foundation Inc., P15 million to Ikaw at Ako Foundation Inc., P7.5 million to Buhay Mo Mahal Ko Foundation Inc. and P5 million to Kasangga sa Magandang Bukas Foundation Inc;
San Luis, P10 million to Kaisa’t Kaagapay Foundation Inc; Arago, P6 million to Kaisa’t Kaagapay Mo Foundation Inc. Clarete, a total of P25.5 million to Kabuhayan at Kalusugang Alay Sa Masa Foundation Inc. and P12 million to Kasangga sa Magandang Bukas Foundation Inc;
Antonino, P15 million to Buhay Mo, Mahal Ko Foundation Inc., and Arenas, P9.75 million to Pangkabuhayan Foundation.