Farmers’ group files plunder rap vs Aquino
Peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) on Wednesday filed a plunder complaint in the Office of the Ombudsman against President Aquino and several others, including Janet Lim-Napoles, over the misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
The complaint said “the respondent President Benigno Simeon Aquino III is being charged in this case by virtue of the doctrine of qualified political agency. The acts committed by the department secretaries under the executive department are deemed acts of the President.”
Also named in the complaint were Agriculture Secretary
Proceso Alcala, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, Agriculture Undersecretary Antonio Fleta, Assistant Agriculture Secretaries Salvador Salacup and Ophelia Agawin, Director Irene D.T. Alogoc of the agriculture department’s internal audit service and head executive assistant Arnulfo Mañalac of the Office of the Agriculture Secretary.
Whistle-blower Merlina Suñas, a former employee of Napoles, and several John and Jane Does were also charged.
The KMP complaint came a few weeks after the National Bureau of Investigation filed plunder and other charges against 38 people, including three senators and Napoles, in connection with the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
Napoles is the alleged mastermind of the scam in which the PDAF of lawmakers were channeled to bogus nongovernment organizations that she had set up. A lawmaker received kickbacks equivalent to 50 percent of a project funded by his PDAF, according to whistle-blower Benhur Luy. Forty-percent went to Napoles and the remaining 10 percent to government “conduits.”
“The Ombudsman has the power to investigate even a sitting President and the Filipino people have every right to know his participation in the pork barrel scam. Aquino cannot hide under the mantle of presidential immunity,” said KMP secretary general Antonio Flores.
The KMP also urged Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to prosecute the President and the other officials for violation of the Anti-Graft Law, Government Procurement Reform Act, and Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, as well as commission of malversation of public funds and grave and serious misconduct.
While Aquino enjoys immunity from suit, Flores said “the Ombudsman has the power to investigate even a sitting President and the Filipino people have every right to know his participation in the pork barrel scam. Aquino cannot hide under the mantle of presidential immunity.”
The complainants include Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon chair Jose Canlas, Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan spokesman Nestor Villanueva, KMP secretary general Antonio Flores and his deputy secretary, Wilfredo Marbella.
They said that instead of ensuring that government funds were safeguarded following the fertilizer scam during the Arroyo administration, “nothing has changed. In fact it has become worst.”
“Worst, those involved in the scam were using the hapless farmers and their miserable situation as justification for the release of the public funds they have squandered. Equally revolting is the fact that the agencies of the government, in one way or another, facilitated, abetted and even directly twisted rules and regulations to ensure the successful pillage of public funds,” the complainants said.
Originally posted at 12:17 pm | Wednesday, October 2 2013
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