BACOLOD CITY—A special audit of the Commission on Audit has uncovered what appears to be another scam that led to the theft of pork barrel funds, this time those of a legislator who has one of the worst attendance records in Congress.
Part of the audit results showed that P10 million of pork barrel funds (officially called Priority Development Assistance Fund) from Rep. Julio “Jules” Ledesma IV went to Kaisa’t Kaagapay Mo Foundation Inc. (KKFI), a nongovernment organization (NGOs) that had been listed by COA as either bogus or dubious.
Among the COA findings are:
A village chief, who died in 2007 or two years before Ledesma’s project was implemented, was listed as beneficiary.
Several village chiefs in Ledesma’s district denied receiving anything from KKFI, one of at least three NGOs that served as a conduit of Ledesma’s project from December 2009 to April 2010.
The projects that KKFI implemented on behalf of Ledesma were questioned by COA.
Ledesma denied that the signatures on documents for one project that KKFI implemented were his. He refused comment on two other projects and on projects implemented by two other NGOs—Farmers Development Corp. and Kabuhayan at Kalusugan Alay sa Masa Foundation Inc.
Dan Pondevilla, lawyer of Ledesma, insisted that Ledesma’s pork went to legitimate government agencies.
“If that government agency did not implement properly, then it is not our fault. That agency should be investigated and not the congressman,” said the lawyer.
Contrary to reports, he said the funds were “not given to NGOs but (to) legitimate government agencies.”
“We have no hand in how that agency implemented the projects,” Pondevilla said.
According to COA, records of the National Agribusiness Corp. showed that P10 million in Ledesma’s pork was released to KKFI for seedlings and livelihood technology kits for farmers from December 2009 to April 2010.
Among the documents submitted by KKFI to support the project is a list of beneficiaries.
COA said each of the 20 village chiefs from San Carlos City and the towns of Escalante, Calatrava and Toboso was supposed to have received P500,000 worth of seedlings and livelihood technology kits through KKFI.
One of those in the list was former Salamanca village chief Eriberto Baynosa of Toboso town, Negros Occidental.
Susan Garcia, COA special audit office director, wrote to Baynosa to inquire if he had received 850 mango seedlings, 700 rambutan seedlings and 90 livelihood kits, which consisted of five volumes of books from December 2009 to April 2010.
In response, Baynosa wrote to say that he had not received anything from KKFI and that his signature on the list of recipients was not his.
Toboso Mayor Richard Jaococo quoted former Magticol village chief Florenio Escala, whose name was also on the list of beneficiaries, as denying, too, that he received anything from KKFI.
Another supposed beneficiary, Lemery village chief Camilo Salumag of Calatrava, died in 2007, two years before the start of the project.
Another supposed recipient, Eliseo Mariposa, claimed that his signature was forged and that he was not yet a village chief when he purportedly received P500,000 worth of seedlings and livelihood technology kits for Barangay (village) Tigbao, Calatrava town.