No ‘pork’ probe yet on Garin
MANILA, Philippines–Acting Health Secretary Janette Garin has not yet been formally investigated for her and other former and current lawmakers’ involvement in the alleged misuse of their pork barrel funds of which about P300 million went to Garin and nine other legislators.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima told reporters on Tuesday that she could not recall if a separate National Bureau of Investigation team was assigned to the case. She recalled referring the matter to the NBI team that investigated the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam but was not sure if the team conducted an investigation.
“I wasn’t sure if the sworn statements of the [whistle-blowers] were officially subscribed to. That was probably the reason why I did not yet refer it to a formal investigation. The documents were apparently incomplete,” she said.
The allegedly misappropriated funds came from the eight “technical studies” projects related to the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani that were undertaken by the defunct National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor).
The whistle-blowers, Nabcor officials Rhodora Mendoza and Victor Cacal, exposed last March that P300 million of the funds actually went to the 2007 election campaign kitties of Garin, then Iloilo congresswoman, and nine other lawmakers.
Mendoza said she personally delivered P1 million to Garin. But the latter denied the accusation and insisted she had no dealings with Mendoza or anybody from Nabcor.
De Lima recalled that Mendoza and Cacal, together with their lawyer Levito Baligod, initially went to the Office of the Ombudsman to file a complaint but later returned to the Department of Justice.
De Lima promised to check if there is any ongoing investigation on the alleged scam.