DA report on P89M funds for Napoles’ group out next week-A A +A
Thursday, August 29, 2013
THE Department of Agriculture (DA) will submit next week to President Benigno Aquino III its report how the P89.2 million worth of priority development assistance funds (PDAF) went to a dummy organization linked to Janet Lim-Napoles.
At the hearing of the House appropriations committee on the proposed 2014 budget for DA, Secretary Proceso Alcala was quizzed over reports that his agency is being used as a conduit of PDAF to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs).
"Once the committee finishes its report, they will submit it to me so that I can prepare the memo to the President and for the DBM and for all concerned agencies," Alcala said.
Of the total amount, P44 million have already been released for the Kaupdanan para sa Mangunguma Foundation Inc. (KPMI), an NGO allegedly set up by Napoles. The amount is for 11 projects of six congressmen, Alcala said.
During the hearing, however, Alcala only mentioned five congressmen: Representatives Scott Lanete (Masbate), Neil Benedict Montejo (An Waray party-list), Arnulfo Fuentebella (Camarines Sur), Reynaldo Umali (Oriental Mindoro), and Isidro Ungab (Davao City).
Ungab, a member of the ruling Liberal Party, is the chairman of the House committee on appropriations.
Before the presence of DA officials, Ungab reiterated that he is willing to submit himself to any investigation to be conducted by the agency.
Alcala meanwhile defended the agency from the accusations that it is being used by the Napoles’ group of NGOs.
The DA official, also a former congressman, explained that when he took over the agency, they rejected PDAF from lawmakers until from July 2010 until August 2012 because the guidelines were not clear.
"Hindi kami nagpadaan ng PDAF sa agency dahil hindi malinaw ang guidelines at umiiwas kami sa balitang ganyan. Pagharap naming sa Kongreso, sinabihan kami na hindi kami pwedeng umiwas kaya nag-ayos kami ng pamamamaraan kung papaano magiging transparent at makakapunta sa dapat," Alcala said.
Alcala further said that if he had the chance, he would talk to Napoles who is set to be jailed in Makati City after surrendering to President Aquino Wednesday night.
"Pero kung ako ay mabibigyan ng pagkakataon na makakaharap ko siya siguro ay dapat ko nang tanungin talaga kasi baka mamaya may mga tauhan ako sa DA na deretso kakuntsaba nila eh hindi ho natin dapat payagan yun," he told reporters.
Ophelia Agawin, DA's assistant secretary for finance, had already been instructed to explain why the agency is being dragged in the controversial multi-billion pork barrel scam.
But Alcala said Agawin will stay in the agency until there is enough proof that she played a role in the controversial scam. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)