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Angara denies giving P20M pork to fake NGO

/ 05:18 AM March 19, 2014

Former Senator Edgardo Angara. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Former Sen. Edgardo Angara on Tuesday denied allocating through state-run National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor) P20 million of his pork barrel funds to an allegedly fake nongovernment organization (NGO).

Angara was one of the senators named in the official documents that former Nabcor officials Rhodora Mendoza and Vicente Cacal submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman purportedly showing that P1.7 billion in pork barrel allocations was coursed to Nabcor for funneling to dubious NGOs from 2007 to 2009.

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“We take exception with the mention of former Sen. Edgardo J. Angara in a recent news article as having endorsed the bogus NGO, Kagandahan ng Kapiligiran Foundation Inc., and having allegedly allocated P20 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund to KKFI,” Angara’s chief of staff Mina Pangandaman said in a statement.

“That story is a rehash of earlier unverified COA assertions, which we have already categorically refuted,” she said.

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Pangandaman said Angara was in Brussels to attend a conference.

“Speaking as the senator’s chief of staff at the time, I clearly state that we have thoroughly reviewed our documentation of PDAF allocations from 2009 to 2010. None show that any release was made to a Davao-based NGO through Nabcor—let alone one amounting to P20 million,” Pangandaman said.

“We are curious as to how a big sum of money got credited as part of our PDAF, and supposedly for an organization that we did not even know about,” she added.

Pangandaman said Angara and his office were not involved in any wrongdoing and that “the assertions made in the news article are outright falsehoods.”

“The Commission on Audit had already been informed of this sometime last year. For the sake of truth and fairness, we request to rectify this misinformation,” Pangandaman said.

Former ABA-AKO partylist Rep. Leonardo Q. Montemayor explained in an e-mail to the Inquirer that the P10 million that was downloaded to the Federation of Free Farmers Cooperatives (FFFC) through Nabcor did not come from his PDAF allocation.

He recalled that on June 30, 2009, then Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap allocated P10 million out of the Department of Agriculture’s livestock, crops and fisheries program to support integrated livelihood projects.

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Montemayor admitted he had endorsed the project as the “representative of the ABA-AKO party-list coalition of small farmers and urban poor organizations in the (previous) 14th Congress.”

He said that implementation of this particular ABA-AKO project was undertaken by FFFC.

Established in 1966, the FFFC is registered with the Cooperative Development Authority and is certified as a national secondary cooperative “in good standing,” he said.—With reports from Norman Bordadora and Michael Lim Ubac

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TAGS: Angara denial, bogus NGOs, Edgardo Angara, pork barrel scam
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