Senator wants DAR investigated in connection with the Malampaya fund mess

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A lawmaker has filed a resolution asking the senate Blue Ribbon committee to investigate the Department of Agriculture (DAR) in connection with the supposed misuse of Malapaya funds, even as the committee has yet to resolve the issue on summoning of Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged pork barrel scamp mastermind, to the hearing.

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Senate majority leader Alan Peter Cayetano, in filing Senate Resolution No. 271, wants the Blue Ribbon Committee, chaired by Senator Teofisto Guingona 3rd, to investigate, in aid of legislation, the alleged corruption and embezzlement of the portion of the 2009 Malampaya funds.

Cayetano was prompted to seek probe on the DAR following reports that some P900 million funds from the Malampaya gas project were funneled to dubious non-government organizations (NGOs) allegedly controlled by Janet Lim-Napoles.

The funds were supposed to be used to help farmers in 97 towns damaged by Typhoon Ondoy (international codename: Ketsana) and Pepeng (international codename: Parma) in 2009, but were siphoned off to fake NGOs, most of which associated with Napoles.

The Malampaya proceeds were allegedly released by DAR through fictitious NGOs which were tapped by Local Government Units (LGUs) to distribute “Farm Initiative Production Kits” to farmer and agrarian reform beneficiaries in their respective localities valued at around P40,000 each.

Among those who received funds from Malampaya proceeds are: Abundant Harvest for People’s Foundation, Inc.; Bukirin Tanglaw Foundation Inc.; Dalangpan San Among Utod Kag Kasimanwa Foundation; Ginintuang Alay sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc.; Gintong Pangkabuhayan Foundation, Inc.; Karangyaan Para sa Magbubukid Foundation Inc.; Kasaganahan Para sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc.; Kaupdapan Para sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc.; Masaganang Buhay Foundation, Inc.; Micro Agribusiness Citizens Initiative Foundation, Inc.; Saganang Buhay Sa Atin Foundation, Inc.; and Tanglaw para sa Magsasaka Foundation, Inc.

Cayetano noted that most of the NGOs mentioned were linked to Napoles, who is being accused of conniving with several lawmakers to get “kickbacks” from their PDAF allocations.

Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon Revilla Jr., and Juan Ponce Enrile, where among those included in the plunder complaint filed by the National Bureau of Investigation before the Office of the Ombudsman.

“This scandalous allegation cannot go uninvestigated and the credible allegations compel us to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation,” he added.

The blue ribbon committee has temporarily suspended its hearing on the pork barrel scam while the chamber resolves the issue on whether it would allow Napoles to attend the blue ribbon hearing or not.

Guingona,  chair of the committee has asked Senate President Franklin Drilon to sign the subpoena to Napoles but instead of signing it, the senate president sought the advice of the Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.

Morales advised against summoning Napoles but clarified that the chamber can decide on its own.

The senate is expected to decide on the matter on Wednesday in an all senators’ caucus which was supposedly conducted last Monday. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA

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