Farmers deny benefiting from ‘pork’ projects of Enrile
MANILA, Philippines—Two farmers from Umingan, Pangasinan, on Friday came forward to deny being recipients of a livelihood package supposedly funded by the pork barrel allocation of detained Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile.
Leonardo Corpuz and Rogelio dela Cruz were among the first batch of “ghost beneficiaries” to testify at the Sandiganbayan against detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the suspected mastermind of the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
Taking the witness stand at Napoles’ bail hearing, the pair gave face to the hundreds of thousands of alleged beneficiaries of numerous livelihood programs supported by the Priority Development Assistance Fund of several lawmakers.
They both disowned the signatures which appeared on documents showing that they received livelihood assistance provided by Enrile’s office.
During the direct examination conducted by Special Prosecutor Lalaine Benitez, Corpuz said he was not aware of any financial assistance that Enrile supposedly extended to farmers in Umingan, in 2010.
According to Corpuz, he only came to know about the “livelihood improvement package” he purportedly received when investigators from the Office of the Ombudsman came to interview him in October 2013.
He said he only saw the contents of the package, which included a rake, a sprayer and fertilizers, from the pictures that the Ombudsman investigators had shown to him.
“I did not receive those items,” Corpuz said. “Even the signature on the list (of beneficiaries) was not mine.”
In his testimony, Dela Cruz also said he was not aware that he benefited from the project implemented by a Napoles-founded organization and that he did not sign documents proving that he received farm inputs.
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