Magsaysay: Never met, dealt with Napoles, Luy on pork barrel projects
MANILA, Philippines—Former Senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr. has expressed shock at his inclusion in Benhur Luy’s files as among the senators who dealt with Janet Lim Napoles’ non-government organizations.
“More than the shock was the huge blow it had dealt not only to me and my family but also to the Magsaysay name,” said the son and namesake of the late President Ramon Magsaysay in a statement.
Magsaysay said he had neither dealt with Napoles or Luy, nor pocketed a centavo from the release of his pork barrel to the beneficiaries.
“If at all, I surmise that my inclusion was part of the vendetta for having stirred the report on the fertilizer fund scam,” he said.
Magsaysay confirmed allocating P2 million each for marginal farmers in the Alburquerque and Candijay towns in Bohol province out of his priority development assistance fund (PDAF) in 2004.
But contrary to Luy’s claims, Magsaysay said the beneficiaries were the two local government units, and not the People’s Organization for Progress and Development Foundation Inc. (POPDFI) or any of Napoles’ NGOs.
The two LGUs received or “should have received” the funds from the Department of Agriculture, he said, citing the advice of notice of cash allocation signed by then acting Budget Secretary Mario Relampagos on March 19, 2005.
The same document stated that the funds were credited to the DA account, he added.
According to Luy’s files, the senator allocated P4 million of his PDAF to POPDFI through the office-of the DA Secretary and National Agricultural and Fishery Council.
Magsaysay, chairman of the agriculture committee that inquired into the P728-million fertilizer fund scam, clarified that the allocation was made before he learned of the misuse of funds of the DA’s Ginintuang Masaganang Ani program.
In August 2005, he filed Senate Resolution No. 327 opening a hearing on the scam, and then in March 2006, he issued a committee report recommending the filing of charges against agriculture officials.
Before the third hearing, Magsaysay said he wrote the DA to say that his office’s remaining projects with the department under the 2004-05 national budget be withdrawn and voided.
The idea, he said, was to conduct an “unbiased and independent” investigation.
“All my records will attest to the fact that I had gone through the legal and proper channels in the disbursement of my PDAF,” the former senator said.
“I have never dealt with Mr. Luy, Ms Napoles or anyone claiming to be a representative of her bogus NGOs. Most importantly, I did not receive a single centavo in the release of the amount since that would be between the LGUs and the implementing agency,” he added.
Magsaysay furnished the Philippine Daily Inquirer copies of the supposed letters of Alburquerque Mayor Efren Tungol and Candijay Mayor Monina Camacho in 2003 each requesting P5 million for the farmers from his office.
The letters used the same date (Nov. 18, 2003), the same font, and the same wording in justifying the request: the money will be utilized for the purchase and distribution of farm inputs and implements to marginal farmers. They have different letterheads, though.
Napoles allegedly ran her racket of converting pork barrel into kickbacks through her staff, including Luy, who forged letter requests from local officials to lawmakers; a network of dummy foundations, and her connections in government.
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