DAR audit confirms diversion of P900M to Napoles NGOsBy Gil C. Cabacungan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines – An in-house audit made by the Department of Agrarian Reform has confirmed that the P900 million in Malampaya funds released by Arroyo administration officials in 2009 went to ghost beneficiaries drawn up by bogus non-governmental organizations linked to detained businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.
Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes said the only question remaining in the P900 Malampaya fund scam was who directed the agency to pick the 12 Napoles NGOs to distribute the relief funds ostensibly meant for victims of tropical cyclones “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” in 97 municipalities throughout the country.
In a phone interview, Delos Reyes said: “Our audit showed that the mayors denied having received any fund from the NGO. Some beneficiaries denied having received any livelihood packages while some names in the liquidation report were fake.”
The Commission on Audit has yet to complete its special audit—started two years ago—of the P23.6 billion in Malampaya funds used during the Arroyo administration, including the P900 million deployed to DAR. Pork barrel scam whistleblowers Benhur Luy and Merlina Suñas have claimed that they were ordered by Napoles to draw up a scheme to siphon off the DAR funds using her fake NGOs.
Delos Reyes said, however, that the audit failed to trace the government official who identified the Napoles NGOs as the recipients of the Malampaya funds coursed through DAR. DAR employees claimed that the agency’s role was merely “ministerial” as they had no part in the selection of the NGOs nor of the towns that were supposed to benefit from the typhoon relief funds.
The key players in the fund transfer were former Agrarian reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman and Undersecretary Narciso Nieto and former Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya and incumbent Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos. It was former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who approved the use of the Malampaya funds for typhoon rehabilitation, which by was formalized by then Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita in a memorandum to Andaya.
Based on the liquidation report, the 12 NGOs listed a total of 22, 427 beneficiaries who were given farm initiative production kits priced at P38,118 to P42,358 each in 97 towns in Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Bulacan, Benguet, Abra, Laguna, Kalinga, La Union, Pangasinan, Isabela, Cagayan, Ifugao, Tarlac, Quirino, Apayao, Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya and Camarines Sur.
The 12 NGOs and their share of the Malampaya funds were Abundant Harvest for People’s Foundation Inc. led by Vanessa Eman (P75 million) for Banna, Pagudpud, Bacarra, and Dumaineg, Ilocos Norte; Bukirin Tanglaw Foundation Inc. led by Gertrudes Kilapkilap ( P75 million); Dalangpan Sang Amon Utod Kag Kasimanwa Foundation led by Jesus Castillo (P75 million); Ginintuang Alay sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc. led by John B. Lim (P77.5 million); Gintong Pangkabuhayan Foundation Inc. led by Eulogio D. Rodriguez (P82.5 million); Karangyaan para sa Magbubukid Foundation Inc. led by Simplicio Gumafelix (P82.5 million); Kasaganahan para sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc. led by Genevieve Uy (P75 million); Kaupdanana para sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc. led by John Raymund de Asis (P75 million); Masaganang Buhay Foundation Inc. led by Ronald Lim (P55 million); Saganang Buhay sa Atin Foundation Inc. led by Lilian Espanol (P80 million); and Tanglaw para sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc. led by Nova Kay B. Dulay (P62.5 million).