Denials, denials, denials
MANILA, Philippines—Here are the reactions of congressmen who responded to the Inquirer’s requests for comment on the inclusion of their names in the files kept by Benhur Luy of the purported pork barrel transactions of his former employer, Janet Lim-Napoles:
Cebu Rep. Pablo John Garcia:
“I absolutely deny that. All my PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) releases are on record with the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) and not one release has been made to an NGO, whether legitimate or illegitimate. Besides, I was congressman of the third district, not of second district.
“What is my business putting projects in a district that isn’t mine?”
Former Rep. Ruffy Biazon:
“I would like to reiterate what I had previously said at the time the complaint was drawn up—I do not personally know Mrs. Napoles or her staff and I did not talk to her about any project nor did I transact (business) with her or anyone connected to her office. In fact, even the whistle-blower affidavit used in the complaint against me does not claim any personal transaction with me.
“With the complaint already filed, I leave it to the Ombudsman to evaluate the basis given and will submit myself to the legal processes which I hope will be fair and just. It is there where I will submit my complete reply to the allegations raised and I am confident I will be able to successfully defend myself there.”
Rep. Amado Bagatsing:
“I categorically deny any involvement in the pork barrel scam.
“My name has been dragged in this scam in which I had no participation whatsoever. I have never endorsed Masaganang Ani or any NGO linked to Janet Lim-Napoles.
“Neither have I coursed my Priority Development Assistance Fund at any time through the Technology Resource Center (TRC).
“The TRC headed by Dennis Cunanan went against the very advice of a TRC lawyer not to proceed with the processing of a questionable PDAF allocation which had been charged to my office without my knowledge or approval.
“I learned from the Commission on Audit that a note was written by TRC lawyer Francisco Figura asking TRC officials not to process the papers of Masaganang Ani Foundation as the intended beneficiary of the PDAF because of its failure to submit a Certificate of Good Standing.
“Figura’s letter dated Jan. 21, 2008, also noted that my supposed letter endorsement was only a xerox copy and that TRC needed the original on file.
“Whoever was behind this shenanigan at TRC could not produce the originals of my purported endorsement of Masaganang Ani because there were no originals.
“The photocopies referred to by Attorney Figura in his note were fake documents bearing my forged signatures …
“Cunanan’s claims are rubbish because I was not even a congressman in 2005 to 2007 during the period in which he alleged that I coursed PDAF to TRC.”
Former representative and current Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino Jr.:
“I do not know Luy. I do not know Napoles. I did not assign any of my staff to deal with my PDAF. I’m suing Luy if he publishes the list.”
The Inquirer tried to reach other officials whose names appeared on the list but they did not take calls made or reply to text messages sent to their mobile phones as of 7 Sunday night.
Among these officials were Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil, former Pangasinan Representatives Arthur Celeste and Conrado Estrella III, former Pampanga Representatives Anna York Bondoc and Zenaida Ducut, Apayao Gov. Elias Bulut Jr. and Kalinga Rep. Manuel Agyao.—Reports from Gabriel Cardinoza and Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon, and Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon and the Inquirer staff
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