Group that got solon’s pork ‘bogus’
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—The foundation that received pork barrel funds from Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Carlos Padilla could no longer be located, but it left a trace of alleged anomalies in the disbursement of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of lawmakers.
Verification made by the Philippine Daily Inquirer showed that Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc. (Afpi), which is being linked to the anomalous release of Padilla’s PDAF from 2007 to 2009, showed that it had been involved in the P724-million fertilizer fund scam in 2004.
“There appears to be a clear pattern by which bogus foundations were used as supposed channels of the PDAF, but did not actually reach their intended beneficiaries,” said a Commission on Audit (COA) source.
The COA earlier identified Afpi as conduit of Padilla’s PDAF that supposedly went to about 2,500 residents of at least five towns in Nueva Vizcaya for training programs and materials.
The projects were supposedly implemented by the Technology Resource Center (TRC) of the Department of Science and Technology, through training programs, livelihood kits and information materials to supposed beneficiaries.
Upon validation by the COA, however, town officials said no such projects were implemented in their areas and that the names listed as beneficiaries were not their constituents.
Padilla denied his involvement in the selection of Afpi. “It was the TRC [which] got the funds and implemented the project. Hence, I do not really know [Afpi],” he said, adding that his signature was forged in the documents used for the release of the funds.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) website showed that Afpi was first registered as a nonstock corporation in March 1999. However, a copy of its articles of incorporation showed that it was registered on June 2, 2008.
A check at its listed office address on 763 J. Planas Street in Gagalangin, Tondo, Manila, last week showed that it was a three-story house owned by the family of Alfredo Ronquillo, Afpi president and chief executive officer. The office telephone number on record is inactive.
Ronquillo’s wife, Juliet, told Inquirer that her husband died in 2007 and their house was never used for a foundation.