In The Know: Senator Revilla
Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. was on the very top of the list of lawmakers identified in affidavits executed by whistle-blowers who allegedly allowed nongovernment organizations (NGOs) linked to Janet Lim-Napoles to use their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) entitlements for ghost projects worth P10 billion.
According to the documents, Revilla gave the NGOs access to his pork barrel funds in 22 instances.
Reacting to the report, Revilla said it was a “demolition job” by Malacañang and that it was part of efforts to discredit “nonallied” potential candidates for President in 2016.
“They are trying to destroy my name just because there are people who are asking me to run [for President] in 2016,” the senator said.
In its special audit report released on Aug. 16, the Commission on Audit (COA) found that funds totaling P6.2 billion were transferred to 82 NGOs from 2007 to 2009. Ten of these NGOs were linked to Napoles. Of this 10, six were among the top 19 NGOs that received the bulk of the funds.
The COA report found that P413.29 million of the P6.2 billion were sourced from Revilla’s PDAF.
According to the report, the breakdown of the P413.29 million released by Revilla to Napoles-linked NGOs is as follows: P97 million to Social Development Program for Farmers Foundations Inc., P31.5 million to Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc., P106.45 million to Agri & Economic Program for Farmers Foundation, P58.2 million to Agricultura Para sa Magbubukid Foundation, and P120.14 million to Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc.
Apart from identifying Revilla, the whistle-blowers’ affidavits also tagged Revilla’s chief political adviser, Richard Cambe, as among the senior congressional staff members who served as “conduits” for channeling funds from the lawmakers to Napoles.
P1.093B to bogus NGOs
At the opening of the Senate inquiry into the scam on Aug. 29, COA Chair Grace Pulido-Tan said Revilla, along with Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Gregorio Honasan, allocated a total of P1.093 billion of their pork barrel to bogus NGOs affiliated with Napoles from 2007 to 2009.
All four senators have inhibited themselves from the Senate inquiry but have denied any involvement in the scam.
Earlier this week, two new witnesses/whistle-blowers interviewed by the Inquirer said they had notebooks containing details of Napoles’ transactions with lawmakers.
The witnesses, who said they worked for Napoles as titular presidents of bogus NGOs, also revealed the code names that were used for the senators in the records. “Pogi” was the designated code name for Revilla, one of the witnesses said.
On the second day of the Senate inquiry, two former heads of government corporations testified that Enrile, Estrada and Revilla had given millions of pesos from their pork barrel allocations to dubious NGOs, including those controlled by Napoles.
Rhodora Mendoza, former vice president for administration and finance of National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor), said she was “very sure” Enrile, Estrada and Revilla signed letters endorsing NGOs linked to Napoles. She added that the senators or their representatives signed the report four times because the funds were released in four tranches.
Alan Javellana, the president of Nabcor during the 2007-2009 period covered by the COA special audit, also told the Senate that the three senators had channeled parts of their pork barrel to three of the eight NGOs identified with Napoles.
Source: Inquirer Archives