MILITANT peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) on Tuesday filed its second plunder complaint before the Ombudsman against President Benigno Aquino 3rd, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio Delos Reyes, businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles for the misuse of P125 million of Malampaya funds.
Led by Rafael Mariano, the farmer group trooped to the anti-graft agency to file their 16-page plunder complaint with 70 documentary evidences accusing President Aquino of “releasing Malampaya funds for projects or purposes not in accord with the law.”
The group said “his acts of approving the release of the funds to projects or purposes not related to those which the law, specifically Presidential Decree 910, so provides lead to the plunder of the funds by bogus non-government organizations in conspiracy with the officials of the Department of Budget and Management [DBM] and the Department of Agrarian Reform [DAR].”
The farmers said the President and respondent public officials of the DBM, “should know and should have known that the Malampaya Funds were earmarked for energy development or energy-related projects. But despite such fact, they approved the release of the funds to the DAR, which is in no way engaged in energy development.”
Delos Reyes, the complaint said, was also included in the charge sheet because “it is under his watch that the pillage of public funds, in hundred millions of pesos, happened” and that “he approved or caused the approval of several Memoranda of Agreement for the implementation of projects submitted and proposed to his office by dubious non-government organizations.”
The group underscored that most of them were “ghost projects,” supposedly in the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Isabela, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Pampanga, Bulacan, Batangas and Quezon.
The non-existent projects by bogus non-government organizations funded by Malampaya, the group claimed, include Organic Farming through the use of Vermi-Composting by WorkPhil Foundation and Samahan Magsasaka sa Kapatagan, the Backyard Agri Economic Scheme by Karangyaan Para sa Magbubukid Foundation, Rural Farming Reform System by Social Development Program Farmers Foundation of Benhur Luy, Farming Output Improvement Project by the Kaupadanan para sa Mangunguma Foundation by John Raymond De Asis.
“The projects that the DAR entered into with the non-government organizations . . . are not in any way related to energy-development. Worst, those projects were never implemented. Not a single centavo was spent for the said projects and not a single farmer received any benefit there from,” the complaint said.
It also charged Abad and DBM Undersecretary Mario Relampagos “as principals by indispensable cooperation as they are the ones who approved the release of the funds to the DAR for projects not related to energy-development.”
The KMP said Abad and Relampagos “allowed the release of such funds for those projects when the projects were highly anomalous and do not conform to the government procurement system.”
“They should also know that the Malampaya funds were intended [for]the exploration, development, and utilization,” the group said.
The farmer faction decried that the defendants only used the “predicament of the hapless farmers” to justify the release of the Malampaya Fund beyond its legally dictated use.
PD 910 of 1976 is the framework for financing energy resource development and exploitation programs and projects of the government from oil and gas revenues.
The group urged the Ombudsman to immediately place the respondents in preventive suspension saying “the charges against them constitute grave criminal offenses involving graft and corruption and for grave and serious misconduct which would warrant dismissal from service.”
It said the “evidence of guilt against them is also strong. More importantly, their continued stay in office will definitely prejudice this case because they have access to the files and records and could easily alter or forge them,” the complaint said.