Mayor finds no anomaly in pork deals with sisters
VIRAC, Catanduanes—A sister is listed as an official of a nongovernment organization (NGO) that implemented projects supposedly funded by pork barrel. Another sister owns a company that supplied products and services to the NGO.
Mayor Flerida Antonio-Alberto, of this town, said she did not view these as signs of irregularities in P33.5 million worth of contracts for projects here that got public funds credited as pork barrel of several legislators.
The Commission on Audit (COA) also ordered the return of funds that were given another NGO, Gabay at Pagasa ng Masa Foundation Inc. (Gabay). Gabay got P7 million in public funds credited as pork of two party-list legislators.
Alberto said people criticizing the P33.5 million in pork projects implemented here were subjecting her to a “trial by publicity.”
“Who am I to reject the projects?”Alberto said in a statement written in Filipino.
The projects were purportedly for Virac’s “integrated livelihood program,” which involved training sessions for livelihood, including hog raising.
Money for the projects came from public funds that had been credited as pork of Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin, A Teacher Rep. Julieta Cortuna, Senior Citizens Rep. David Kho, Anad Rep. Pastor Alcover and Sen. Vicente Sotto III.
Garbin was credited for P11.5 million while P5 million was credited to Cortuna. At least P2 million was credited to Kho and P10 million to Alcover. At least P5 million was credited to Sotto.
All of the money went to Kaagapay Magpakailanman Foundation Inc. (KMFI), which Alberto insisted is a legitimate organization.
Alberto also said the projects were above board, saying these went through public bidding. KMFI, according to the mayor, submitted all necessary documents. KMFI landed the contracts, she said, because no other bidder participated.
“I have no control over prospective bidders who do not want to participate,” Alberto said. She parried accusations that she, a sister and other relatives were incorporators of a similar NGO, saying there was no law prohibiting it.
She admitted that M.L. Antonio Enterprises, which supplied the NGOs involved in the pork projects, is owned by sister Marilou.
“Regarding allegations on my sister’s activities, I do not know anything as we are already living separate lives,” Alberto said.
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