Tupas: Scholars got my pork
MANILA, Philippines—Iloilo Rep. Niel C. Tupas Jr. on Sunday said he gave every peso of his pork barrel to scholars in his province in his first two terms as a lawmaker.
Tupas, who is on his third and last term, denied allocating any of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to fake nongovernment organizations affiliated with a Godofredo Roque as claimed by the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) in the case it filed in the Ombudsman last Friday.
“I have never and will never be involved in any kind or form of scam, pork or whatever. I do not tolerate and will never tolerate any misuse of the public’s money or anyone’s money,” Tupas said in a statement to the Inquirer.
“You can ask the thousands of students and parents in my district about the Iskolar Sang Quinto program that I am very proud of. My constituents will attest to the fact that they are beneficiaries of this program and that I allocated almost all of my PDAF (from 2007 to 2013) to it and to medical assistance,” Tupas said.
Tupas said he got wind of the BMP’s charges last week while he was in the middle of relief operations in his district which was hit by Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”
“The accusations against me are false, malicious and ill-motivated. How can I supposedly siphon off more than half a billion pesos to any NGO when I never had that kind of allocation to dispose of in the first place? So it’s a big lie to say that I allocated PDAF of P108 million or more than a billion pesos to ghost NGO projects. It is simply fantastic, baseless and does not make sense,” he said.
Tupas also denied knowing Roque. A special audit of PDAF releases from 2007 to 2010 by the Commission on Audit identified Roque as a major player in the pork barrel scam.
“I do not know any Godofredo Roque. I have never heard of him. Based on the COA report, I allocated P7 million of my PDAF to some livelihood projects during my first term. These were implemented and were not ghost projects,” he said.
Tupas said his signatures were forged on the documents facilitating the release of his PDAF to the fake NGOs. Gil C. Cabacungan
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