No Pork for Decu-A A +A
My Palm Notes
Friday, September 13, 2013
TAKING a leave of absence is an ordinary thing. Making it known to the public by one’s boss is extra ordinary.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) announced that Technology Resource Center (TRC) head Dennis Cunanan has filed an indefinite leave of absence as TRC had been dragged into the PDAF controversy. TRC is a government corporation attached to the DOST.
Decu, to a lot of his friends, has figured in a news account in one of the leading national newspapers as having been named as “one of the conduits of Napoles” (together with his ex-boss and former TRC Director General Antonio Ortiz) by whistleblower Benhur Luy.
Decu took over TRC in 2010. A lot of the big-time anomalous PDAF projects were purportedly implemented from 2007 to 2009.
While he was Ortiz’ deputy for few years, Decu was cut to size and his wings were substantially clipped during their tandem leadership. One of Ortiz’ ways to bypass him in PDAF transactions was a memo where Ortiz appointed a legislative liason officer as alternate signatory (for PDAF).
Decu was only allowed to sign disbursements with a maximum value of P1 million in the authority matrix, making him – with his good looks — as nothing more than just a handsome purchasing officer for bond papers, paper clips, toilet papers and the rest of office supplies.
Even if you throw in there some office equipment, Decu still looked like a glorified errand boy with his signing authority. I don’t remember reading about anomalous PDAF account with just P1 million amount.
With the announcement of the “indefinite leave of absence” by no less than the DOST, one can surmise the trust and confidence of Decu’s bosses in the agency.
It was also stated in the press dispatch that the “TRC Head has appeared before the National Bureau of Investigation Special Task Force and would welcome and cooperate with all other investigations”.
The trust and confidence was manifested even more in the succeeding portion of the dispatch.
DOST’s press release made mention of Decu’s own initiatives on PDAF-related accounts since assuming the office of TRC’s Director General.
Some of Decu’s own efforts were not mentioned in the national newspaper account, painting an unsavory picture of our Cabalen, who, on the contrary has put into place some measures that were meant to help ensure transparency and accountability way before the P10 billion PDAF scam was reported in the papers.
Allow me to state in full that portion were a sizeable number of NGOs were blacklisted in the Decu initiative:
"In July of 2010, the TRC under DG Cunanan blacklisted 44 non-government organizations (NGOs) which failed to properly liquidate their PDAF funds, 8 of which are now reported in media as identified with the JLN Group. The agency stipulated in a memorandum dated July 16, 2010 that it will not enter into any agreements with them as regards the implementation of livelihood projects until such time that they submit their liquidations and the deficiencies noted in various COA audit observations are resolved. As a follow through, the TRC also turned over to the COA Special Audits Office all of its records relating to past PDAF projects. In the in-depth COA Report No. 2012-03, the auditing team cited the present TRC management for its corrective actions. Page 279 of the COA report says, “Upon takeover of the present management in 2010, NGOs with unliquidated funds were notified individually. A TRC blacklist (submitted to the team) containing NGOs with derogatory records, was also issued… The Team (COA Special Audit Team) appreciates the actions taken by the TRC officials."
The press release did not only mention generalizations or motherhood statements but it also cited specific acts by Decu. It stated further:
"As part of instituting reforms in the agency, Cunanan issued an office circular adopting stricter eligibility requirements, accreditation rules and monitoring procedures for NGOs wanting to engage the services of the agency. These stricter measures are being implemented by a Review and Accreditation Committee, a member of which is a personnel of the resident COA office.
Under Cunanan’s administration and the directions set by (DOST) Sec. Montejo, the TRC has realigned its mission and retrained its focus back to its true mandate, which is the sourcing and utilization of technology for the two-fold purpose of commercialization and information dissemination. It has embarked on innovative operations making it more efficient and relevant. Coupled with prudent fiscal management, TRC's financial bottom-line have remained positive over the last three (3) years. This despite not receiving any form of budget or subsidy from the National Government.”
Given that, Decu secured for himself an outstanding performance rating in the last three years under the new appraisal system for those in the government corporations.
That consistent performance rating has also led to his re-appointment in TRC as heads of government corporations (and the members of board of directors) need to have yearly appointment papers.
For his part, our Cabalen from Magalang town has welcomed the investigation, saying that his leave of absence is hoped to achieve three things: One, to clear his name; two, to protect the agency; and, lastly, to protect TRC’s integrity.
In short, so as not to influence the investigation. In a shorter short, that's delicadeza.
When this PDAF controversy first erupted last month, I asked Decu about the issue. And without batting an eyelash, he already has an answer to the issue involving TRC.
"I am confident that ultimately my name will be cleared as my actions on this issue will bear me out. That being one of my first official actions upon assuming the helm in TRC is to look into the PDAF disbursements," said Cunanan.
Cunanan reiterated that since 2010 the TRC has ceased to implement PDAF and long before Janet Lim-Napoles made the headlines, the TRC has started its own investigation on the NGO’s that failed to properly liquidate their PDAF funds.
As early as May 2010, the Commission on Audit (COA), with full cooperation from TRC, has started the audit of the PDAF that was coursed through the Center from 2007-2009.
As in all other prominent personalities, some questions have to be raised. Did Decu have transactions with Janet Lim Napoles? Did he even meet with whistleblower Benhur Luy?
While the answers to these questions may now be rendered insignificant given the time of TRC’s controversial PDAF deals vis-à-vis his appointments and his own initiatives, Decu categorically denies any hand in the questionable PDAF accounts from 2007 to 2009.
Decu also said that the only time when he met with Benhur Luy was sometime in 2010 when he scolded him for not claiming or receiving the Technovans that one of the Napoles’ NGOs was supposed to deliver to recipients under a contract allegedly signed by his predecessor.
Decu, thus, described as hearsay the basis for naming him as one of the "conduits" between Napoles and the TRC.
I don't see a connection between Decu and Napoles there. I also don't smell any pork for him.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on September 14, 2013.