Palace: ‘Three Furies’ will prosecute people in non-Napoles NGO scandalBy Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Worried that other bogus people’s organizations that benefited from the pork barrel scam would get scot-free?
The so-called “Three Furies” will surely prosecute them, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said on Thursday, dismissing fears that the high-profile investigation into the misuse of lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) will only target agencies controlled by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
Lacierda was referring to the triumvirate of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and Commission on Audit (COA) Chair Grace Pulido-Tan who led the eight-member Interagency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council (IAAGCC) that would look into the misuse of pork barrel funds uncovered in a special audit from 2007 to 2009.
The IAAGCC has a mandate to investigate nongovernment organizations (NGOs) outside the influence of Napoles.
“The President tasked the IAAGCC to investigate the 2007-2009 special audit report. So that is going to be part of the mandate of the IAAGCC,” Lacierda said in a news briefing. “They will investigate these NGOs besides the Napoles [group].”
The special audit mentioned that Interior Secretary Mar Roxas had channeled P5 million of his pork barrel to the Kaloocan Assistance Council Inc. (KACI) through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), when he was still a senator.
In defense of Roxas
Told about it, Lacierda said: “Any responsible reading of the COA report will show [that] Secretary Mar is not on the unliquidated list; he is not on the self-created NGO list; he is not on the fake or ghost NGO list; he is not on the Napoles-related list. In fact, he is not on any list that points to anomalies.”
Lacierda noted that the KACI had already explained to the COA how it spent funds provided by the PDAF of then Senator Roxas.
“What that NGO has to explain to the COA is why did it spend part of that fund to provide financial assistance to its employees? That’s the question that that particular KACI should answer,” Lacierda said.
He said Roxas was very transparent in his use of his PDAF.
“If there are any documents that are requested from him, he is willing to provide [them]. That’s why he was surprised that there was any—there was a statement that he was not prepared to provide documents. He is willing to provide all the documents,” Lacierda said.
“This is only a P5-million fund that was being stated. I don’t know why this is being made an issue. In his years of public service, Secretary Mar Roxas has never been tainted with any allegation of anomaly. So if you’re asking Secretary Mar Roxas if he is willing to provide documents, yes, he is willing to provide documents and all these can be found in the audit report of COA,” Lacierda said.
“Any suggestion that Secretary Mar Roxas is involved in any scam is malicious,” he added.
The COA report said Roxas’ PDAF release to KACI was lumped together with those of other lawmakers used to cover “grant of financial assistance and procurement of various sports, livelihood supplies, medicine, antirabies, training materials and assorted reading glasses from 14 suppliers/providers.”
The KACI reportedly received P133.6 million for 21 PDAF-funded projects coursed through the DSWD.
Other legislators with KACI projects, several of which remained unliquidated, were then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile (P10 million); Caloocan City Representatives Oscar Malapitan (P25.3 million), Luis Asistio (P25 million) and Mary Mitzi Cajayon (P30.3 million); then Quezon City Rep. Vincent Crisologo (P18 million), and then Navotas-Malabon Rep. Alvin Sandoval (P20 million).
Roxas was not among those with unliquidated funds, Lacierda said. His P5-million PDAF was spent on administrative expenses, while P100,000 was given as financial or educational assistance to the NGO’s employees.