Fake NGO scam wider than Napoles web
The fake nongovernment organizations (NGO) racket is much bigger, wider and more appalling than the P10-billion pork barrel scam allegedly carried out by Janet Lim-Napoles that was uncovered by the Inquirer, the Commission on Audit (COA) Special Audit report on the congressional pork barrel funds showed.
“Laway lang ang puhunan at koneksyon (Spit and connections were all the capital you needed),” was how COA Chair Grace Pulido-Tan summed up the NGO pork barrel racket at the press conference on Friday where she announced the results of the COA special audit.
The COA audit, which covered Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and various infrastucture including local projects (VILP) fund releases from 2007 to 2009 for projects identified by legislators, showed that there is a far larger number of fake NGOs outside of the Napoles empire handling equally large or even bigger funds than the Napoles NGO network, and dealing with more state agencies than the fugitive businesswoman.
The COA special audit report showed that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released a total of P12 billion for PDAF allocations from 2007 to 2009.
Of the amount, P6.156 billion allocated to 12 senators and 180 House members went to 82 NGOs.
Ten of those NGOs were linked to Napoles and they cornered P2.157 billion.
DSWD major pork conduit
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) emerged as one of the biggest state conduits for these pork barrel funds, receiving P2.47 billion during the three-year period, just behind the Technology Resource Center (TRC) with P2.613 billion and ahead of the National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC) with P1.299 billion, the National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor) with P1.265 billion and the Zamboanga del Norte Agricultural College Rubber Estate Corp. or ZREC with P291 million.
The TRC, NLDC, Nabcor and ZREC are the quartet of implementing state agencies that were used by the Napoles NGOs.
The COA report also showed two other conduits that were employed by the network of dubious NGOs—the Department of Agriculture’s regional field units and the Quezon City government.
The COA audit, however, covered only P946 million, or just 40 percent of the pork handled by the DSWD from 2007 to 2009, with P1.524 billion still unaccounted for.
In the 2014 national budget that Malacañang submitted to Congress, the DSWD has been designated as the gatekeeper of all pork to be allotted to all NGOs.
The COA report validated the statements made by whistle-blowers Benhur Luy and Merlina P. Suñas to the Inquirer as it showed that 10 of the 82 NGOs covered by the audit were owned by Napoles, which cornered P2.157 billion of the PDAF, or 32 percent of the funds audited.
But a ranking of the NGOs by the value of pork barrel funds handled would show that one or more rival groups (that shared common stockholders or suppliers) were also operating the same racket as Napoles.
While Napoles’ Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation Inc. had the single biggest haul among the 82 NGOs, with P585.359 million for 40 so-called projects, only four other Napoles NGOs were in the top 20 NGOs with the biggest pork allocations—Masaganang Ani para Sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc. with P477.033 million for 34 projects (4th), Countrywide Agri and Rural Economic Development Foundation Inc. with P246.74 million for 20 projects (7th), Agri and Economic Program for Farmers Foundation Inc. with P145.25 million for five projects (10th), Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc. with P121.61 million for 16 projects (13th) and Agrikultura para sa Magbubukid Foundation Inc. with P104.95 million for 4 projects (16th).
These Napoles NGOs all used TNU Trading, Sin Gum Trading and Ditchon Trading as suppliers.
The ranking showed seven equally dubious NGOs that either shared common addresses or common suppliers of livelihood training kits (C.C. Barredo Publishing House) and seedlings (BB Vergara Plant Nursery and S&A Plant Nursery)—Kabuhayan at Kalusugan Alay sa Masa Foundation Inc. with P526.679 million with 74 projects (2nd), Pangkabuhayan Foundation Inc. with P396.128 million for 23 projects (5th), Kagandahan ng Kapaligiran Foundation Inc. with P109.062 million for nine projects (14th), Kapuso’t Kapamilya Foundation Inc. with P107.541 million for 12 projects (15th), Gabay at Pag-Asa ng Masa Foundation Inc. with P66.312 million for 12 projects (18th), Kaagapay Magpakailanman Foundation Inc. with 90.756 million for 12 projects (19th), and Buhay Mo Mahal Ko Foundation Inc. with P83.995 million for seven projects.
Two more NGOs—Kaisa’t Kaagapay Mo Foundation Inc. (P38.86 million for five projects) and Kasangga sa Magandang Bukas Foundation Inc. (56.551 million for nine projects)—also shared the same suppliers.
This latter group of nine NGOs handled about P1.5 billion of pork barrel funds in total.
Sharing suppliers, addresses
In the matter of sharing suppliers, the COA cited the case of C.C. Barredo Publishing House which sold these 9 NGOs P541.72 million worth of livelihood manuals (consisting of four to five volumes of 100 pages each priced at P2,000 to P3,500 per kit) that were “already common knowledge to an ordinary farmer.”
The COA said that some of these manuals were carelessly given to high school students. C.C. Barredo was also listed as having the same address as Kaagapay Magpakailanman Foundation Inc. at 339 Quezon Ave.
At least two other NGOs—Aaron Foundation Inc. with P524.91 million for 38 projects (3rd) and Farmer Business Development Corp. with P248.4 million for 46 projects (6th)—had a common supplier, Felta Multi-Media Inc.
The COA also identified 9 individuals who were either incorporators or project coordinators in at least two NGOs—Luy (2 NGOs), France Mercado (2), Genely O. Belleza (2), Godfredo G. Roque (5), Joel Soriano (2), Marilou Ferrer (4), Marilou Antonio (6), Myra Villanueva (4) and Mary Ann Exito (2).
The lawmakers themselves were not content being the givers of pork. Some took a direct hand in the NGOs that they had chosen to be the recipients of their pork.
Six former and incumbent lawmakers were listed as stockholders of these NGOs—Edgardo J. Angara (Kalusugan ng Bata, Karunungan ng Bayan Foundation Inc.), Amado Bagatsing (Kabaka Foundation Inc.), Matias Defensor Jr. (Matias Defensor Sr. Foundation Inc.), Ma. Victoria R. Sy-Alvarado (Jose Sy Alvarado Foundation Inc.), Jeannie Sandoval (Pamamalakaya Foundation Inc.) and Anthony C. Miranda (Aksyon Makamasa Foundation Inc.).
Angara’s NGO shared the same office address as the READ Foundation (which got P81.55 million for DWSD projects) at 1405 Marbella Condominium I Building along Roxas Boulevard.—With a report from Christian Esguerra
First posted 12:01 am | Sunday, August 18th, 2013