DA mulling case vs Napoles NGO-A A +A
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
MANILA (Updated) -- Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala will recommend the filing of a case against a non-government organization (NGO) linked to businesswoman Janet Napoles for ghost projects allegedly charged to the pork barrel allocation of former Camarines Sur representative Arnulfo Fuentebella.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Alcala said they will coordinate with the Office of the Solicitor General after finding out that Kaupdanan para sa Mangunguma Foundation Inc. (KPMFI) has yet to account for P750,000 released by the government in 2011 for agriculture-related projects.
He said Fuentebella can be used as witness against KPMFI because the former House Deputy Speaker denied signing documents endorsing projects to be implemented by the NGO.
The ex-lawmaker's chief of staff Benjamin Geronimo also submitted an affidavit to the Department of Agriculture (DA) validating team stating that he did not sign or endorse documents of Fuentebella in favor of KPMFI.
KPMFI officials also could no longer be reached in their office in Las Piñas City.
Some P83.2 million in pork barrel funds was allotted to KPMFI but only P44.9 million was actually released as the DA transferred it in tranches, starting with 15 percent of the total allotment.
After releasing the initial amount, the NGO is required to submit receipts and other documents as proof that the project has been delivered before moving on to the next tranche.
"Kaso nakalusot pa rin ang Kaupdanan. Wala po kaming knowledge na ang grupo na ito ay may ganitong modus operandi," said Alcala. "They have submitted the right papers. They have good standing according to the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission)."
Representatives Scott Lanete (Masbate), Neil Benedict Montejo (An Waray party-list), Antonio Lagdameo (Davao del Norte) Reynaldo Umali (Oriental Mindoro), and Isidro Ungab (Davao City) also allotted a portion of their priority development assistance fund (PDAF) to KPMFI but Alcala said the projects, which include heavy knapsack sprayer and foliar fertilizer, were aboveboard and fully liquidated.
Lanete posted the biggest allocation to KPMFI at P45 million but only P20 million was released.
Alcala refused to accommodate pork barrel-funded project proposals for two years (July 1, 2010 to August 2012) due to issues on transparency. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM), however, told him that agriculture projects are allowed under PDAF and should be implemented.
The DA accredited 26 NGOs, including KPMFI, as of July 26 this year.
Of this number, seven are recipients of PDAF, namely, Maharlikang Lipi Foundation Inc., Kaakbay Buhay Foundation Inc., Gabay at Pag-asa ng Masa Foundation Inc., Kasangga sa Magandang Bukas Foundation Inc., Kabuhayan at Kalusugang Alay sa Masa Foundation Inc., Coprahan at Gulayan Foundation Inc., and KPMFI.
From August 2012 up to the present, these NGOs have received P132.84 million out of the total allocation of P334.08 million.
"We are also checking if Kaakbay (KBFI) and Kasangga (KSMBFI) have illegal transactions because these NGOs can no longer be located," said Alcala.
KBFI and KSMBFI are located at Annapolis, San Juan City and Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, respectively.
Meanwhile, Alcala said Ophelia Agawin, DA's assistant secretary for finance, was asked to explain her alleged participation in the misuse of pork barrel funds.
"Hindi po siya ang solong kausap. May committee po na nagsi-screen ng mga NGO. Hindi ko po hinuhugasan ang kamay ng aking mga tauhan. Wala pa naman sa husgado ito," he said.
Alcala earlier said he is interested in meeting Napoles so that she can shed light on the issue. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)