In Napoles hearing, farmer denies being a beneficiary of PDAF-funded project
A farmer from Padada, Davao del Sur has denied signing a document bearing his name which was for the beneficiaries of a supposedly fake non-government organization (NGO) project from alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.
During the hearing of former Rep. Mark Douglas Cagas and Napoles’ corruption charges at the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division on Wednesday morning, farmer Carlos Villanueva of Barangay Lower Malinao in Padada was called to the witness stand.
When lawyers from the prosecution asked Villanueva if the signatures next to his name in two documents presented as evidence were his, he answered that he did not affix it.
“My name is printed here but this is not my signature,” Villanueva said in Cebuano, his native tongue, which was translated in front of the prosecution and the defense panels.
The farmer’s name was on the list of beneficiaries of two fake NGOs created allegedly by Napoles, placed as entry number nine on one document and number 155 on another.
The organizations involved in the case are the Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation Inc. (SDPFFI) and People’s Organization for Progress and Development Foundation Inc. (POPDFI).
Both Napoles and Cagas have pleaded not guilty to the charges, which were based after Cagas channeled his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to the said NGOs for agricultural production packages.
Villanueva, who has farmed for 40 years in the said area, also stated that he has not received any aid through any project from the said organizations, adding that his knowledge of NGOs only stemmed from ordinary conversations.
He also denied hearing of SDPFFI and POPDFI, saying that he only knows the term “NGO”.
According to the Villanueva, at least four other “signatories” were also invited to the barangay hall by lawyers from the Ombudsman office in Davao del Sur for the subpoena.
After the prosecution asked their initial reactions after learning that their signatures were falsified, lawyers from the defense tried to object on grounds that it was merely hearsay.
Presiding Judge Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, however, overruled the objection, reasoning that the witness himself was there to see the reactions.
Villanueva said that all of them were shocked at the falsified signatures.
“We were surprised that our names were listed but those weren’t our signatures,” he said.
To prove that it was indeed different from the signature, the defense requested that the witness present an identification card and affix his signature on the paper, which appeared different from the one in the evidence. /vvp
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