Cebuanos in Janet’s ‘Napolist’ ask for evidence

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014


SHOW us proof.

This is how Rep. Raul del Mar (Cebu City, north district) and former congressman Antonio Cuenco responded to Janet Lim-Napoles’ statement that they were involved in embezzling pork barrel funds.

Del Mar said he would not let Napoles destroy him, so he took it upon himself to look for evidence that may explain his alleged involvement.

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“It has to come to that. It cannot remain hanging like this; they have to show evidence of my alleged involvement,” he told Sun.Star Cebu.

The congressman wrote Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Prospero Alcala a letter requesting for copies of all documents linking his name to any transaction with the DA. He reiterated that he never coursed any of his PDAF through the department.

Cuenco and Del Mar’s names both appear in an affidavit that Napoles has made, which a Senate committee made public this week. So do the names of former congresswoman Clavel Martinez and Rep. Gerald Gullas (Cebu Province, First District).

Gullas said his inclusion in the latest list provided by Napoles to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is questionable.

He also denied allegations that he had his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) siphoned through an agent identified as Cheryl “Che-che” Yarra.

No PDAF

“How is it possible for a congressman without a PDAF to deal with a PDAF agent?” said Gullas, whose term began on July 1, 2013, when PDAF releases had already been suspended.

The Supreme Court also ruled on Nov. 19, 2013 that the PDAF was unconstitutional.

Gullas said he hopes to meet with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to explain his side.

Martinez’s name appears in the affidavit at least five times.

Sun.Star Cebu tried to get the former congresswoman’s comment through her son, Cebu Association of Barangay Councils President Celestino “Tining” Martinez III. But Martinez said he cannot comment on his mother’s behalf.

“The way I see it, maybe it’s best we look at the evidences first rather than just making any assumptions based on a list coming from someone who wants to turn state witness,” he added.

In a report published last May 19, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported a list of congressmen who allegedly transacted with Benhur Luy, an ex-aide of Napoles, based on files he had given to the broadsheet.

‘Not close’

Del Mar was in that list, which also indicated a project with the DA that was supposed to be charged to his PDAF.

“I’m even exerting effort to get evidence. Here I am being accused and I’m the one looking for evidence because I am convinced that there is none. I am doing this because I cannot leave this hanging,” he said in a phone interview.

Del Mar also denied having any dealings with former congresswoman Martinez, whose name appears beside his name in the list that Napoles attached to her expanded affidavit released last Monday afternoon.

The list contains the name of 120 lawmakers who allegedly connived with her in pocketing billions from the legislators’ PDAF.

Del Mar said that he may have been in Congress together with Martinez, but they were never close enough to work together on a project.

“I am befuddled by all of this, that I am involved. But in time, we will find out the truth. All mysteries get unraveled in the end,” he said.

Details, please

In a separate interview, Cuenco, former congressman of Cebu City’s south district, said he also plans to request the Department of Transportation and Communications for any document that would show that he had PDAF funded projects with the agency.

He said that when the lists came out, he got in touch with all of his former staff to check if any of them dealt with Napoles.

“I investigated and none of them transacted with Janet Napoles or any of her staff. I have never transacted with her. If she says that I have, where is the proof? At this stage, they should be able to produce evidence already. Where are the details?” he asked.

If there is a chance, Cuenco said he would confront Napoles and ask her for specific details on his involvement, including the dates of the transaction, the projects and people involved.

“I challenge her to produce the SARO (special allotment release order). If there is no SARO, there’s no notice of cash allocation, no funds, and no project… If wala’y SARO, wala’y sala. Panglawgaw na man lang ni ang iyaha (She’s just out to cause trouble),” Cuenco said.

He added that he finds it unfair that he is included in the list but there is no evidence against him.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 29, 2014.

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