Lawmakers denying ‘pork’ scam involvement dared to call for probe
Lawyer Levito Baligod dared lawmakers implicated in the latest complaint in the misuse of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to join him in urging the Office of the Ombudsman to conduct an investigation if its true that they are innocent and their signatures were forged.
Former Yakap partylist representative Carol Lopez is one of the lawmakers named in Baligod’s complaint. She allegedly allocated P29-million to Kagandahan ng Kapaligiran Foundation.
Lopez said she had already cleared herself before the Commission on Audit (COA). She also claimed that her signatures were forged.
“I had already done steps to clear myself before the COA.,” Lopez said.
Baligod said, “If I may ask Cong. Carol Lopez if she ever talked with any of the following regarding the implementation of her PDAF: Sherry Joy Vivar, Edna Vivar, Marianne Vivar, Cecilia Fernandez and/or Mark Alvin Garcia?”
Lopez said “this is even the first time that I had encountered such names mentioned in the papers. I have nothing to fear. This could even be an opportunity to put a case closed stamp on my case.”
“I humbly implore Cong. Carol Lopez to help us convince the Ombudsman to conduct an investigation to give both sides the official venue to validate each other’s contentions,” Baligod said in a text message.
Like Lopez, Iloilo representative Niel Tupas Jr. said his signature was forged.
In fact he said he was the one who alerted COA in 2010 when he learned that his signature was being forged to facilitate the release of funds from PDAF.
“If their (Lopez and Tupas) signatures were forged, then with more reason that they should feel outraged by such and to demand an investigation on this, should they not,” Baligod asked.
He pointed out that he is not filing complaints against lawmakers “to torment or malign anybody.”
“Since the central issue here involves the malversation of billions of public funds, it is beyond the incidental issue of one’s public image that our legislators want to protect,” he said. Tetch Torres-Tupas/IDL