Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali of the Liberal Party said the P10 million he allocated to a nongovernment organization (NGO) allegedly owned by Janet Lim-Napoles did not come from his pork barrel but from the “priority development fund” of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.
Umali was referring to the High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP), which has a proposed budget of P1.67 billion in 2014, a fund that Alcala can allocate to lawmakers and local government officials of his liking.
Umali accounted for P10 million of the P80 million given by the Department of Agriculture in 2012 to Kaupdanan Para sa Mangunguma Foundation Inc. (KPMI), led by John Raymond de Asis, an employee of Napoles’ JLN Corp.
“Only 15 percent representing the mobilization fee of the P10 million for the allocation of the second district of Oriental Mindoro was released under special allotment release order (Saro) E-11-0016772 chargeable against the priority development fund of the DA not my PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) as erroneously reported in the media for the HVCDP,” Umali said in a letter to Alcala.
Alcala did not reply to the Inquirer’s questions on how he disbursed his pork funds under HVCDP.
Umali explained that he decided to lobby for funds from Alcala after he got word that some representatives were getting extra funds from Alcala on top of their annual P70-million pork.
“You just have to ask him (Alcala) to get funds for your district. In my case, organic farming has been my advocacy in my hometown (Bongabong),” Umali said in an interview.
He said he used his PDAF to allocate P15 million to Philippine Forest Corp. (Philforest) to a non-Napoles NGO, Maharlikang Lipi Foundation Inc.
The amount was part of the P428.5-million pork barrel allocations to Philforest from 2010 to 2011 that were the subject of a special audit by the Commission on Audit (COA).
“My allocations to Philforest are closely monitored. I used it for livelihood projects in my town,” Umali said. “Pork is good if you implement it well. If there were abuses, the response should not be wholesale abolition but just tweaking the monitoring.”
Umali said he used KPMI as a conduit for Alcala’s PDF because it was accredited by the agriculture department.
He claimed that it was only recently that he realized that KPMI was among the fake NGOs established by Napoles to siphon off P10 billion from pork barrel funds in connivance with lawmakers and their senior staff in the past 10 years.
“I have no dealings with Napoles except this. Of course, I knew her because I met her once at a social occasion. But I had no business dealings with her. It was my staff who coordinated with KPMI,” Umali said.
He said that his older brother, Oriental Mindoro Gov. Alfonso Umali, was also cited in the COA special audit for giving pork barrel to dubious NGOs when he was representative from 2007 to 2009, but he noted that this was not linked to the Napoles network of fake NGOs.
Umali said that he had documents to prove that the amount released to KPMI went to 76 farmer organizations and individuals under the Farmers Organization for the Rural Upliftment of Mindoro, which took care of distributing a package of backpack sprayer and foliar to 1,294 farmer-beneficiaries.
Accredited by DA
Aside from KPMI, two other Napoles NGOs—People’s Organization for Progress and Development Foundation Inc. and Ginintuang Alay sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc.—were accredited by the agriculture department, according to Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon.
The accreditation allowing them to be used as conduits last year for the release of funds from the agriculture department to one provincial government (Surigao del Sur) and 12 municipalities—Bulakan, Bulacan; Padada, Davao del Sur; San Antonio, Nueva Ecija; Umingan, Pangasinan; Virac and Baras in Catanduanes; Dinalupihan, Bataan; Sanchez-Mira, Cagayan; and Tago, Madrid, Cantilan and Hinatuan in Surigao del Sur.
5 other congressmen
The memorandum of agreements were signed by Alcala’s townmate, Undersecretary Antonio A. Fleta (who is occupying the same post of fertilizer scam mastermind Jocelyn “Joc-joc” Bolante), POPDFI’s Merlina Suñas (a pork barrel scam whistle-blower) and Gamfi’s John Lim (a nephew of Napoles).
Aside from Umali, representatives who had tapped KPMI were Davao Oriental Rep. Isidro Ungab, Neil Montejo of An-Waray, Antonio Lagdameo Jr. of Davao del Norte, and former Representatives Arnulfo Fuentebella of Camarines Sur and Rizalina Seachon-Lanete of Masbate.
Alcala himself was named in the COA special audit of the PDAF between 2007 and 2009 as then Quezon representative for giving P6.5 million of his pork to Economic and Social Cooperation for Local Development Foundation Inc.
The NGO was not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, had no business permit, gave a fake address, and did not provide documents to support the release of medicines through the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
The COA said the suppliers of the NGO were either non-existent or had denied any transactions with it.