The grand conspiracy

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Sunday, June 1, 2014


IT IS absolutely absurd to think that a woman who only reached high school could pull strings and defraud the government of billions of pesos in the pork barrel scam.

Janet Lim Napoles, from all indications, is only a pawn in the game. She even claimed in her affidavit that she does not possess the skill to run a “complicated scheme,” such as embezzling the government by the billions.

So there must be a grand conspiracy between Napoles and the higher echelon of government authority in the bureaucracy to break a very stringent but defective system of fund management in government.

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The much-ballyhooed “Napoles list” is a hoax. It is clearly a diversionary tactic apparently concocted by conspirators to divert public attention away from the real issues, which are now under investigation and possible prosecution.

Some senators and congressmen who are implicated in the scam claimed innocence, but they must find other reasons than claim that their signatures were forged in the document. Otherwise, they will be setting their own trap. To insist on such a flimsy alibi is a sure passport to jail. Signatures don’t lie, only signatories do.

There is no such thing as fake nongovernment organization (NGO) either. If there is, then it is the government agency that approved and registered it that is to blame. It is at the height of hypocrisy that government agencies put a lot of stringent regulations and red tapes for applications only to be outwitted by a simple housewife and businesswoman.

As an NGO consultant, I knew how extremely difficult it is to register a non-stock, non-profit organization with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). There are certain requirements to be submitted, such as the name verification slip, articles of incorporation and by-laws, written undertaking to change corporate name, resolution of the Board of Directors, certified list of members, list of contributors and amount of contribution and registration data sheet.

Aside from SEC, the NGO should also be registered and certified by the Philippine Council for NGO which is a private corporation whose main function is to certify non-profit organizations that meet established criteria for financial management and accountability.

To avail itself of projects, an NGO must hurdle even more stringent guidelines from funding agencies whether it be foreign or locally funded. The most common requirements are letter of intent, project proposal, proven track record of project management for at least three years, audited financial statements, SEC registration, Board resolution to undertake the project, updated resumes of officers and Board of Directors, accreditation from the local government unit where it operates and other pertinent documents.

Funding agencies also require the project proponents to put up a certain amount of equity to guarantee that the project will be completed according to the proposal submitted.

It is therefore mindboggling how come Napoles was able to put up NGOs that later became the recipients of funding from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Where in hell did she get the idea of creating bogus NGOs and implemented bogus projects? How come she gets away with it for 10 long years without being detected until she made the mistake of detaining her own relative who blew the whistle on her?

The only probable explanation is that she bribed her way into the greedy and corrupt government officials from the SEC to the so-called honorable gentlemen in the august halls of Congress.

The Aquino government must act and act quickly and resolutely. Time is running out.

The moment Napoles is gone so will the billions of pesos from the pork barrel funds.

All the hush and fuss about the pork barrel scam will come to nothing. All the government’s pronouncement of matuwid na daan will come to naught. --Rene F. Antiga, Banilad, Mandaue City

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 02, 2014.

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