Rodriguez on being included in Napoles list: ‘It’s strange’-A A +A
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Pampanga Third District Representative Oscar Rodriguez on Wednesday branded as "strange" being included in a still unverified pork barrel scam list submitted by Senator Panfilo Lacson to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, which subsequently made it public Tuesday.
The list allegedly came from Jimmy Napoles, whose wife Janet stands accused of organizing fake non-government organizations (NGO) that received billions in taxpayers’ funds. The list contains no signatures, dates or amounts.
"It's strange. Noong una, natawa ako pero later on, nabuwisit na ako dahil naka-diyaryo ka eh. Tapos, iyung impression ng mga tao na pag nasa Napoles ka eh, kurakot ka. But it is just a list without an explanation. But definitely, nagtaka ako because nine years akong wala sa Congress eh nagka-PDAF ako. Second, when I was there from 1987 to 1992, then in 1995 to 2004, wala akong PDAF o CDF (Countryside Development Fund) na nagamit sa mga NGO. Walang dumaan sa mga NGO," said Rodriguez.
He told Sun.Star Pampanga that during his stints, his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) was allocated every year for identified projects and purposes.
"Every year, iyung P9-million, palaging allotted sa scholars. The more or less P4-million is distributed to JB Lingad Hospital, Kidney Center at Heart Center. The P2-million is released to barangays and municipalities and to the province for their small projects. So definitely, on a yearly basis, mayroon na iyang pupuntahan, iyung aking CDF. And definitely, hindi ako gumamit ng NGO kaya nagtataka ako kung paano ako nailagay sa listahan na iyun," Rodriguez said.
He furthered: "I immediately called up Eda [Panganiban] who was my chief of staff then when I read about it and when I realized the repercussion because she was in charge of my CDF then. Nakakasiguro siya na walang napunta sa mga NGO. Walang nagamit sa hindi tama dahil naka-allot na iyun. She assured me that there was no problem at all."
The former City of San Fernando and world class mayor disclosed of a "possibility" that may have led to his inclusion on the list.
"Kaya I am thinking kung paano ako nasama doon. Posible kaya na may lumapit na kaibigan na hindi ko matanggihan na sinabi ‘O, gusto mo ng computers para sa district mo? Gusto mong mabigyan ng computers ang mga eskwela mo?’ Kung ikaw ang nasa posisyon ko, siyempre gusto mo. Well, sige, mag-request tayo. Pirmihan mo lang ang request na ito at ako na ang bahalang lalakad, sasabihin noong kaibigan. May possibility kayang ganoon? I am thinking about it. Hangga ngayon ay hindi ko pa maisip kung may lumapit nga sa akin, iyung malapit na malapit sa akin na hindi ko natanggihan. I will verify that. It’s the only possibility. Pero definitely hindi iyun ghost. Maaring nalakad nila at kumita sila at ang conduit nila, iyung kumpanya nila," noted Rodriguez.
"Definitely, there is no wrong doing. There is no anomaly. It is very certain to me I have no relations or dealings with Napoles. Kahit minsan ay hindi ko pa nakita iyan. Pati iyung mga underlinks na lumabas wala akong kilala sa mga iyun,” he said, adding “At this point, we will wait because what we want is for it to be investigated thoroughly. That is normal. It should be backed up with evidence in fairness to us all. Kung isinama ang mga pangalan namin for other purposes ay kawawa naman kami. Paano kung gawa-gawa lang iyan dahil madami daw iyang mga listahan na iyan. Even my family is bothered although they know I am straight. Pero paano naman iyung ibang tao? Mayroon pa ring disturbance sa amin," he said.
Rodriguez called on Kapampangans and his supporters to wait for the truth to come out, while assuring them that he will never be involved in any anomalous transaction.
"Kaya pong naniniwala sa akin, asahan po ninyo na hindi ako gagawa ng mali na makakasira sa akin, sa pamilya ko, sa serbisyo, at makakasira sa inyo at sa tiwala ninyo sa aking panunungkulan. Kung ano man po ito, malilinawan natin pagdating ng panahon. Definitely on my own, I would not and never enter into an anomalous transaction or wrongdoing. Stick it out with us and we will overcome," he said.
‘No dealings, never met’
Like Rodriguez, former representative and Ang Galing party-list Representative Mikey Arroyo denied in statement to Sun.Star Pampanga of any dealings with Napoles or any of her NGOs.
His camp said "Mr. Arroyo categorically denies having had any dealings with Ms. Napoles at any time in relation to his [priority development assistance funds]. Neither does he know Ms. Napoles as a friend nor has associated with her professionally, nor in any matter relating to business."
The statement also said that Arroyo's name never cropped up during the Senate hearings on the PDAF, and that he was never mentioned by any of the so-called whistleblowers. (JTD/Chris Navarro)
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on May 15, 2014.