Ex-Cabinet official tagged in Malampaya fund scam-A A +A
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
A FORMER government official who served then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was implicated on Tuesday by the whistleblowers in the alleged misuse of the P900-million Malampaya gas fund.
"Pagbigyan nyo na kami huwag muna banggitin sa level ng departamento ito. Secretary-level ang nababanggit nila," said Levito Baligod, counsel for the whistleblowers.
The fund, which was intended for the rehabilitation of areas in Luzon ravaged by storms “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” in 2009, allegedly went to the 12 fake non-government organizations linked to detained businesswoman Janet Napoles.
However, Baligod said only Napoles can determine if some government officials received kickbacks for choosing her NGOs as implementers of ghost projects.
"Bahala na later si Ms. Napoles o president ng NGO kung sino nakausap nila. Kung wala silang sinabi na kausap at makita ng DOJ (Department of Justice) na walang involve na opisyal, maaari ang kaso ay malversation of public funds by private individuals,” he told reporters.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima promised to file the cases before the Office of the Ombudsman within the week.
She earlier told the Senate inquiry into the pork barrel scam, where Napoles has been accused as mastermind, that a certain assistant secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) helped Napoles access the Malampaya fund, which was supposed to be spent for energy-related projects.
A newspaper report, quoting whistleblower Merlina Suñas, identified the official as then Assistant Agrarian Reform Secretary Narciso Nieto. He allegedly represented the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in the memorandum of agreement with Napoles’ NGOs.
De Lima said the signatures of 97 mayors were forged by Napoles’ employees in JLN Corp., making it appear that they had requested and benefited from the P900 million secured by the businesswoman. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)