Witness: Lawmakers get half of ‘pork barrel’-A A +A
Thursday, September 12, 2013
MANILA (Updated) -- One of the whistleblowers in the alleged pork barrel scam told a Senate inquiry on Thursday that unscrupulous lawmakers pocketed half of the money intended for pork barrel-funded projects coursed through detained businesswoman Janet Napoles.
Benhur Luy, Napoles' former personal assistant and second cousin, said they will deliver 50 percent of the lawmaker's share to his/her house before and after the issuance of the special allotment release order (Saro) and the notice of cash allotment (NCA) by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
He said the lawmakers normally meet Napoles at her office to discuss details of the deal, where ghost projects will be undertaken by her non-government organizations (NGOs) in exchange for kickbacks.
"Kapag napagkasunduan na nila kung saan ilalagak ang pondo, itong lawmaker na ito susulat sa DBM. Naka-attach po dun yung kanilang identified implementing agency, identified project description at amount na napag-usapan nila," said Luy.
Employees of Napoles-run JLN Corp. prepare everything, including the crafting of the project proposal, which the lawmaker will forward to DBM.
The lawmaker will also endorse the project to the implementing agency. There were times that a lawmaker's signatures were forged in documents with his/her permission.
Napoles usually draws from her own pocket once the legislator asks for his/her cut. She will only release the other half of the cut if the lawmaker will give JLN a copy of the Saro.
The businesswoman will get 40 percent. At one point, Luy said Napoles had so much money that the vault could no longer accommodate it and they had to place it on her bed or bathtub.
Contacts in implementing agencies linked to the scam also got 10 percent windfall, said Luy.
These are the National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor), Zamboanga del Norte College Rubber Estates Corp. (ZREC), Technology Resources Center (TRC), and the National Livelihood Development Corp.
Some P10 billion in priority development assistance fund (PDAF) was allegedly lost to this racket, but Luy said he does not know any NGO with a similar scheme.
"Siya ang mastermind kasi siya ang boss ko," said Luy, a medical technologist.
Luy said Napoles has 20 NGOs, of which eight were used to corner pork barrel funds and 12 to siphon Malampaya funds.
He started working for Napoles in 2002. He was surprised that his cousin's family became rich because he remembered selling ballpens with Napoles' children.
"Naunawaan ko naman na kaya siya naging ganito kayaman kasi contractor sya, nagta-transact siya sa gobyerno, so siguro kumikita talaga siya ng malaki," said Luy.
Senators failed to convince Luy to reveal the names of lawmakers involved as Justice Secretary Leila de Lima feared the inquiry may be reduced to a "political witch-hunt."
Luy, however, admitted going to the office of a senator with the codename "Sexy."
Pressed by Senator Francis Escudero to provide clues, Luy said: "Noong una mataba po siya tapos bigla po pumayat, kaya sexy na."
Escudero said he is thin, adding his seatmate Senator Franklin Drilon admitted he has always been fat. Escudero's joke elicited laughter inside the session hall.
A report said Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon Revilla Jr. were among those who will face plunder cases for benefitting from pork barrel funds through fake NGOs. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)