Napoles’ bogus NGOs received ‘express service’ from Nabcor
MANILA, Philippines—Janet Lim-Napoles’ dubious nongovernment organizations (NGOs) cornered nearly half of the combined P1.7 billion in congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) releases from 2007 to 2009 coursed through National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor), according to official documents submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman.
The NGOs also secured swift releases of the funding—in some cases within 24 hours of filing in the Department of Agriculture (DA) and its attached agency, Nabcor, according to the statements provided by two former officials of Nabcor—Vic Cacal and Rhodora Mendoza.
Of Napoles’ 20 NGOs, the most favored were Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation Inc. (SDPFFI) and Masaganang Ani para sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc. (Mamfi). They were the recipients of the biggest PDAF allocations from Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr.—a combined P392 million.
Former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, now a Bohol representative, on various occasions witnessed by Cacal and Mendoza had exerted pressure on Nabcor president Alan Javellana to expedite the release of checks despite inadequate documentary requirements.
Cacal, former head of Nabcor general services, said in his sworn statement and interviews with the Inquirer that Javellana would threaten to fire him if he did not immediately process the release of the funds despite lacking the required documentation.
“The senators were angry and Secretary Yap had called that I should release the checks because they were OK,” Cacal said, quoting Javellana.
Mendoza, former Nabcor vice president for finance and a cosignatory of the checks, told the Inquirer that Javellana always superseded the process and signed the checks ahead of all of them so the money could be released immediately.
“Despite our reservations on the release due to lack of documents, checks were issued because it had already been signed by the agency president,” she said.
Mendoza and Cacal are among 38 people, including Enrile, Estrada and Revilla, under investigation by the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged P10-billion racket involving the channeling of PDAF allocations to ghost projects carried out by Napoles’ NGOs and kickbacks to lawmakers. Javellana is likewise facing investigation.
Mendoza and Cacal have applied to become state witnesses, along with Dennis Cunanan, director general of the state-owned Technology Resource Center, and alleged Napoles bagman Ruby Tuason.
Checks swiftly prepared
Based on the records provided by Mendoza to the Inquirer, the SDPFFI received a total of P20.5 million in one day, on June 13, 2008, from the pork barrel funds of Representatives Erwin Chiongbian, Rodolfo Plaza and Victor Ortega.
The funds were released by the DA on June 6, received by Nabcor on July 11 and downloaded to Napoles’ NGO two days later even before the checks were cleared.
The Nabcor records show that a total of P75 million of Enrile’s PDAF with Special Allotment Release Order (Saro) No. 08-01347 for P25 million and Saro No. 08-07211 for P50 million was downloaded from the DA to Nabcor on May 25, 2008, and released to SDPFFI and Mamfi on May 27.
Revilla’s pork barrel worth P65 million with Saro No. 0805254 was also released to Napoles’ NGO the Mamfi and SDPFFI on Aug. 27, 2008, after Nabcor collected it from the DA on Aug. 28.
Estrada also endorsed the SDPFFI with his pork barrel allocation of P19.5 million with Saro No. 08-03116. It was collected by Nabcor on Sept. 10, 2008, and received by SDPFFI the following day.
Mamfi also received P25 million from Estrada which was received by Nabcor from the DA on July 14, 2008, and downloaded to the NGO on the same day.
Mendoza said Javellana had ordered the swift release of checks to other NGOs not connected to Napoles.
A P20-million PDAF allocation from former Sen. Edgardo Angara was received by Kagandahan ng Kapaligiran Foundation, a non-Napoles NGO, a day after it was collected by Nabcor from the DA on Jan. 7, 2008.
Lanao Rep. Alipio Badelles’ PDAF worth P5 million with Saro No. 07-04062 was received by Ikaw at Ako Foundation on April 4, 2007, two days before the regular clearing of the check.
The chosen organization of Rep. Teodulo Coquilla, Gabay Masa Development Foundation, received P5 million of his pork barrel on Jan. 23, 2007, the same day it was collected by Nabcor from the DA.
The Inquirer was furnished original documents, vouchers, checks and pertinent records that detailed how billions of pesos worth of projects that passed through Nabcor were released, according to Mendoza and Cacal, “with undue haste.”
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