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Ex-officials tied to pork scam not off the hook

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12:37 AM September 7th, 2013

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September 7th, 2013 12:37 AM

Presidential deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The former executives of government corporations that were used as conduits for the diversion of senators’ and congressmen’s pork barrel will also be held accountable in the ever-widening pork barrel scandal, Malacañang said Friday.

They include the two officials of the National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor) and the Zamboanga del Norte Rubber Estate Corp. (ZREC) who appeared before the Senate inquiry into the pork scam that they released millions of pesos to nongovernment organizations on the mere say-so of the lawmakers.

“What the President said is clear:  ‘We go where the evidence takes us’,” said deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte.

“We’re talking of huge money here, and that’s people’s money,” she said.

Salvador Salacup, an assistant secretary at the Department of Agriculture who headed ZREC from 2007 to 2009, told a Senate hearing on Thursday that Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. had used the state agency to channel their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to an NGO.

Alan Javellana, the Nabcor president from 2007 to 2009, told the same hearing that the three senators also channeled portions of their PDAF to three NGOs identified with businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged brains of the pork barrel scam.

The two said they were surprised by the influx of endorsements for pork implementation from the legislators, but that the  \Department of Agriculture had ordered to act on the lawmakers’ requests to release the funds to the NGOs.

In announcing the scrapping of the pork barrel in late August, President Aquino said Nabcor and ZREC would be abolished because of their role in the misuse of the PDAF.

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