(First of four-parts)
IT looks like it was not only Janet Napoles who used fake non-government organizations (NGOs) to siphon off government money.
In 2005, P50.5 million was released to a fake NGO, the Bacolod SEAGames Organizing Committee (Basoc). The money was to be used for the 23rd SEAGames which was hosted by Bacolod City.
Basoc was formed by former congressman Monico Puentevella (now the mayor of Bacolod City).
The amount represented advances to the province by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for the repair and renovation of the Paglaum and Panaad stadiums, the floodlighting systems of both stadiums and operating expenses.
At that time, Puentevella was chairman of the Philippine
Olympic Committee and a commissioner of the PSC.
Puentebella set up Basoc, installing himself as principal chairman. However, the group is not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, thus it had no legal personality to receive such monies or to transact with government or private parties.
For funds to be released to Basoc, the Department of Budget and Management required a memorandum of agreement between the PSC and each of the organizing committees in the other playing venues stipulating their duties and responsibilities subject to the provisions of COA Circular 96-003 of Feb. 27, 1996.
Puentevella belatedly submitted to the Commission on Audit a copy of the MOA as part of the “liquidation statement.” But the COA found the MOA “undated and not duly notarized.”
It was also “belatedly executed.”
The PSC transferred to Basoc the P50.5 million in four tranches: P10.5 million on July 28, 2005; P20 million on Aug. 12; P10 million on Aug.26 and P10 million on Nov. 18, 2005.
All four checks were deposited in the personal current account of Puentevella at the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.
Since these were government funds, they should not have been co-mingled with personal funds. Puentevella explained that since Basoc “had no legal personality” he deposited the checks in his private account.
Considering that Puentevella was a former banker, he
should just have opened an “in trust for” deposit account with his bank where the monies could be put in his name as “in trust for Basoc” naming him as a caretaker or trustee of the funds.
Puentevella also did not comply with the mandated proper liquidation within 60 days upon completion of the project. In fact it took him three years to comply, and only after a series of demands from COA and PSC.
COA verified and found many discrepancies in the liquidation statement submitted by Puentevalla. Among them: of the P17,162,321.44 spent on refurbishing the stadium only P774,000 had official receipts (ORs) with the bulk covered by personal check vouchers (PCVs); of the P12 million spent for the venue’s lighting system, only P2 million was covered by ORs and the rest by photocopied sales invoices; for the lighting facilities of the Panaad stadium, P6.912 million supposedly spent was supported by OR and photocopy of the cost proposal; the refurbishing of the Panaad stadium’s dressing room for P50,000 was supported only by PCVs with no documents to support it; for Basoc’s office facilities and beautification projects worth P1.5 million, the COA found that P368,422.50 went to improve the Bacolod City Public Cemetery, which was not included in the program of SEA Games, and for transportation and travel expenses amounting to P4.967 million, only P367,038/36 were evidenced with ORs while the bulk was covered by PCVs of Puentevella.
The COA also listed volunteers’ honoraria of P2.351 million as claimed but supported only with acknowledgment receipts, PCVs and attendance sheet; the opening and closing activities expense of P1.767 million was claimed but only P87,520 was supported by Ors and the remainder supported only by PCVs with no ORs; the beach volleyball facilities amounting to P1.215 million only had PCV “received by different persons” without ORs to accompany it; of the P1.122 million claimed for weightlifting facilities and activities only P500,000 was accompanied by an OR issued by JFJ Construction Supply and P4,000 by the Bacolod Convention Plaza.
To be continued