Marcos denies channeling P10M pork fund to Napoles foundation
MANILA, Philippines–Senator Ferdinand “Bong-Bong” Marcos Jr. on Friday vehemently denied authorizing the disbursement of his P10 million pork barrel funds to a questionable foundation linked to detained Janet Lim-Napoles.
Marcos said he was surprised that his name was included in the Notice of Disallowance issued by the Commission on Audit (COA), saying he simply approved the request of Mayor Leovigildo Ruzon of Nakar in Quezon province to fund livelihood projects meant for poor farmers.
The P10 million fund sourced from the senator’s project was disallowed by COA as it was purportedly undertaken without observing procurement and auditing rules and regulations.
But Marcos said he merely requested the mayor to tap the services of the Social Development Program for Farmers Foundations, Inc. (SDPFFI) as a co-implementor of the project “subject to existing and applicable rules and regulations.”
At no time, he said, did he “direct, authorize or cause the approval” of the disbursement of P10 million to the SDPFFI.
“Whenever I endorse a request for financial assistance, I always remind the implementing agency that the release of the funds under my Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocation for the implementation of the project should be in accordance with existing government rules and
regulations,” the senator said in a statement.
“I could not have caused the disbursement of the funds since, as a senator, I do not have the power to do so. Neither did I at any point have custody of or control of the PDAF funds.”
Under existing laws, Marcos said, it is the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) through the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) that is mandated to release the funds directly to the recipient and implementing agency which, in this case, is the Municipality of General Nakar, Quezon province.
“These funds do not go through me,” Marcos pointed out.
The senator explained that he decided to fund the project after he received a request for financial assistance from the municipality sometime in 2011.
He said the request to fund such projects was included in the menu of projects allowed to be funded under the PDAF pursuant to the 2012 General Appropriations Act or GAA.
This request, he said, together with other projects proposed for funding under his PDAF, was submitted for review to the Senate Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office and the Committee on Finance for the endorsement of the Senate President.
“Thereafter, the Senate President transmits these requests to the DBM. It is the DBM that determines the validity of the requests and projects prior to the issuance of Special Allotment Release Orders or SAROs. The DBM bases its evaluation on whether the requests for financial assistance are in accordance with existing DBM guidelines,” Marcos said.
“On June 4, 2012, the DBM issued SARO no. BMB-G-12-T00002502 to the identified implementing agency, the Municipality of General Nakar, Quezon province.”
A day after the COA issued the Notice of Disallowance on August 18, 2014, Marcos said he wrote to Mayor Ruzon to inquire about the propriety or impropriety of the implementation of the said project.
While waiting for Ruzon’s response, the senator directed his legal team to prepare the appeal on the Notice of Disallowance issued by the COA for including him among the persons liable for the said disallowance.
“Definitely, this is devoid of any factual and legal basis,” Marcos stressed.
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