Pimentel to file suit vs forgers-A A +A
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
SENATOR Aquilino Pimentel III claimed Tuesday that his signature had been forged to funnel some P10 million in government funds to a fake foundation linked to Janet Napoles, alleged mastermind in the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam.
He said a syndicate operating within the Department of Agriculture (DA) forged his signature in a memorandum of agreement entered between the agency and the local government of Surigao del Sur on November 20, 2012 in connection with the DA's Organic Agriculture Program.
Pimentel said he will file appropriate charges against those behind the scam as he also asked the Senate blue ribbon committee to conduct investigation into the alleged letter-requests to the DA.
"These are all forgeries," said Pimentel during his privilege speech. Legal action are now being prepared by his lawyers, he said.
The senator said he is not aware of the MOA even if his name was mentioned in the said document.
Earlier, Pimentel said that a certain John Lim, a nephew of Napoles, was one of the witnesses in the agreement that was signed at the office of Agriculture Undersecretary Antonio Fleta.
Pork barrel scam main whistleblower Benhur Luy had revealed in several interviews that the said MOA was prepared in Fleta's office based on letter-requests from lawmakers.
It was stated in the MOA that one of the beneficiaries was the Agri and Economic Program for Farmers Foundation, Inc., a bogus non-government organization linked to Napoles.
He said the letter-request issued to the DA allegedly requested for P30 million but only P10 million was approved.
According to Pimentel, he did not issue any endorsement designating the NGO but the office of Napoles was able to get money, from the organic funds of the DA using the MOA with his fake signature on it.
Luy divulged earlier that Napoles had contact with Fleta and DA official Ophelia Agawin.
The MOA was signed by Fleta and Governor Johnny Pimentel and the funds coursed to Surigao del Sur.
"I will file charges to those behind the scam. My name was mentioned and was used by these people. It mentions my name as a chosen beneficiary of a certain amount and then mentions the fact that I have chosen the ultimate beneficiary," Pimentel said.
The senator said he cannot understand why he will be asking for additional allocations from the DA since he had only used P8 million of his P200 million pork barrel allocation for 2013. (Camille P. Balagtas)