JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima said Friday the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council will look into another pork barrel scam, this time involving lawmakers linked to non-government organizations controlled by the Godofredo Roque group.
De Lima said the council will probe the new Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam after the labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate Rep. Niel Tupas of Iloilo and spouses Sen. Cynthia Villar and former Sen. Manuel Villar.
In its complaint, Bukluran presented Commission on Audit (COA) reports linking Tupas with Roque, and implicating the Villars to questionable pork barrel releases.
“I think Mr. Roque, along with others who also operated their NGOs in amassing PDAF, will be covered by the investigation of the inter-agency task force,” de Lima said.
De Lima said the probe will cover lawmakers named in the COA report, but were not investigated by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) because they were not linked to Janet Lim-Napoles, accused as the mastermind of the P10-billion pork barrel scheme.
The council is composed of representatives from the DOJ, NBI, Office of the Ombudsman and COA.
De Lima said Roque’s case would be treated separately from those involving Napoles.
“As I’ve said many times, the coverage of the NBI probe is only Napoles, particularly NGOs related to her and therefore within the knowledge of our whistleblowers,” she said.
“We continue to build up cases on those within the knowledge of our whistleblowers but are not supported yet with documentary evidence either from DBM [Department of Budget and Management] and COA,” de Lima said.
The council will make an independent evaluation of and build up cases from the COA special audit report not covered by the NBI investigation, she said.
In Bukluran’s complaint, its president Leody de Guzman asked the DOJ and the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate the Villars and charge them in court.
The group cited the COA report that from 2007 to 2009, Sen. Manny Villar and then Rep. Cynthia Villar were allotted ?200 million in PDAF, for which they released ?168 million, or more than 75 percent, for soft projects in Las Piñas City.
The COA declared ?151 million of the disbursements illegal, saying the projects did not comply with all the requirements under the Government Procurement Reform Act (RA 9184).
Enacted in 2003, the law created an electronic database, requiring companies vying for government supply contracts to sign up. The electronic registry weeds out delinquent suppliers.
Among the documents that 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.
“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,” Bukluran said.
It said that of the soft project disbursements, the Villars allocated just over ?14 million for the Congressional District Office of then Rep. Cynthia Villar. Bukluran also noted that the Villars allocated ?34.16 million for medical and dental supplies to be administered by Sen. Manny Villar’s office. All told, almost ?50 million of the projects listed the couple as implementors.
The COA report also noted that at least ?690,000 was spent on projects built on private property.
In other cases, the COA found that questionable suppliers received a total of ?32.8 million for projects endorsed by the Villars.
The COA called out Marilyn Commercial, Jawoprint Enterprises, Silveran General Merchandise, Vesta Industries, and Seandre Enterprises for not being found at their registered addresses.