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CoA asks Cebu lawmaker to explain use of pork barrel


CEBU CITY—The Commission on Audit (CoA) has asked fifth district Representative Benhur Salimbangon to provide details on where P7.8 million of his pork barrel fund in 2008 was spent.

Susan Garcia, the director of the Special Audit Office, said CoA failed to verify the authenticity of the list of beneficiaries submitted by the Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc. (AFPI), which Salimbangon used as a conduit for his livelihood training programs.

CoA is reviewing pork barrel projects from 2007 to 2009, including those implemented by the Technology Resource Center (TRC).

Garcia said TRC records showed that part of Salimbangon’s pork was released to AFPI for livelihood training programs from March to May 2008 and the distribution of training kits and livelihood technology information materials.

The training programs that AFPI held from 2007 to 2009 include ham making, mango processing, cakes and pastry making, tocino making, cut flower production, balut making and quail raising.

The 576 beneficiaries trained from March to May 2008 were from Bogo City and the municipalities of Bantayan, Daanbantayan, Madridejos, Medellin, San Remegio, Sta. Fe, Tabogon and Tabuelan.

On Oct. 11, 2011, Garcia wrote Bogo Mayor Celestino Martinez Jr. to seek help in verifying beneficiaries coming from his city.

Martinez told Garcia in a letter dated Feb. 15, 2012, that the list of beneficiaries furnished CoA was “fictitious.”

The Bogo City mayor also denied any involvement in the selection of the beneficiaries.

“Neither does my office know of such program in the first place, hence, it comes as a big surprise,” said Martinez’s letter to Garcia.

After receiving Garcia’s October 2011 letter, Martinez sent Jose Ursal, the head of an anticrime group in the Bogo City government, to investigate.

In a report on January 30, Ursal said he spoke with leaders of 25 of Bogo’s 29 villages and not one knew of Salimbangon’s livelihood training program in their areas.

Officials of four villages—Lourdes, Malingin, Pandan and Libertad—denied knowing the existence of AFPI or any of the people in their areas taking part in Salimbangon’s training programs.

Ursal said his investigation showed that only two people listed as program beneficiaries actually live in Bogo City—Elvira Abao and Ronald Lim.

“However, when interviewed, both personalities denied owning their signatures and manifested that they never knew that their names were included in the list of recipients of the Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc. or the Office of Congressman Benhur Salimbangon of the fourth district, Cebu,” Ursal said in his report.

Sought for his reply, Salimbangon said he partnered with government agencies in the implementation of his livelihood training programs. But he could not recall having tapped the AFPI.

When he was elected representative in 2007, Salimbangon said he partnered with government agencies like the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Science and Technology for his livelihood training programs.

He said it could be one of his partner agencies that tapped AFPI.

Salimbangon said he could not help but question the motive of the audit investigation because Martinez is a critic and a political adversary.

“But if CoA will furnish me a copy of their audit letter, I will verify this with TRC,” he said.

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Tags: Benhur Salimbangon , Commission On Audit , Graft and Corruption , Philippines , Pork barrel

  • pinoy_unity

    Total waist of money , dapat sa depensa na lang ng bansa gamitin ang lahat ng pork barrel. Napupunta lang sa mga kawatang congressman. 

  • Ilihanboy

    Where did Salimbangon’s pork barrel go ? Salimbangon denies knowing the supposed beneficiary. We dont think Salimbangon is s-upid.Your guess is as good as mine.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XFH3CDZSZKVLX4G74PJOQ3L64U Natx Bacalzo

    Hangover from gma’s legacy of kleptocracy is now hounding rep. salimbangon.  rep. will just to ask money from rich sister  yeung to refund the p7+ M. But people demands accountability and he should face the music and dance too. tsk, tsk, …

    • popeyee

      The pork barrel has already been there even before GMA’s term, and all congressmen whether pro GMA or anti are enjoying it. If the government really want to get rid of corruption, they should abolish the pork barrel, period.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IE6OU4ODQIVS6F5HKL6QPTTDNI RonnieV


  • johnsonabadsantos

    It is quite obvious that Salimbangon knows the money trail and the trail leads back to his pocket. We only need to pursue this inquiry diligently before Salimbangon evades further investigation.The Commission Audit team should do this pork barrel audit more often and publish the results of all pork barrel audits. This is the only way that funds can benefit more people through local programs instead of in the hands of the few.

  • innit1

    What a waste, those funds should have been used to improve lives of the poor Filipino.As taxpayers, we need to urge transparency in public funds. The problem here is the citizens are ignorant about their rights. The people should know where or what and how their money is being spent and should be published in local newspapers so that Juan de la Cruz could understand it. problem here as well is the lack of knowledge about pork barrel, what is its purpose and how to manage it. Every centavo is precious, we can not afford to waste it just like that. It should not go in the wrong hands but it should go in the bank account of the beneficiaries and let them decide how their money is going to be used. We all know that these politicians are corrupt and criminals we can not trust them.

    We need more education and knowledge on our source of income like taxes collected, foreign aids, governement income and how they are used. We should demand that.

  • pinaskngmajal

    Bravo Mme. Garcia, kailangan ng bayan ang isang katulad mo, pagpalain ka at ilayo sa tukso ng mga kawatan sa kaban ng bayan..paki tingnan mo rin ang iba pang mga officials,,,marami pa sila,,,,hehehe

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3ELRG4RB57GE3NP6AWKJRU2HGQ yahoo-3ELRG4RB57GE3NP6AWKJRU2HGQ

    masakit man pero kailangan nating tanggapin na ang pulitika sa bansa natin ay isang negosyo.. kailangan muna mamuhunan.. kapag nailukluk na,,, tubong lugaw na,, reality.. sinung taong mayaman at negosyanteng magbubuhos ng pera sa panahon ng eleksyon kung di rin lang kikita??? sabe nila.. gusto nilang maglingkod sa bayan.. kung lahat ng nagsasabe ng ganyan sa panahon ng eleksyon ay tumupad sa kanilang tungkulin,, malayo na sana ang ating narating,, bagay malayo na nga ang ting narating kumpara sa karatig na bansa, kaya lang PAATRAS ang ating bayang PILIPINAS…. 

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