Batanes power firm defends Abad: Napoles lied
BASCO, Batanes—Batanes Electric Cooperative (Batanelco) on Wednesday denied it was used by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad in the pork barrel scam, as narrated by Janet Lim-Napoles in her 53-page affidavit that was made public this week.
Batanelco, in a joint statement issued by its former president Wilfrido Cabitac, incumbent president Quirino Gabotero, and general manager Victoria Mata, said Napoles lied when she implicated the power distributor and Abad, a former Batanes congressman.
The statement said “neither the cooperative nor Abad was a recipient of a P10-million fund [supported by] Saro (special allotment release order) contrary to the allegation of Janet Napoles.”
“Batanelco has never been an implementing arm of Secretary Abad’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in all his projects except for the rural electrification projects,” it said.
“Our record shows that our cooperative has never been involved in the PDAF scam masterminded by Napoles. The National Electrification Administration can prove that we are one of the best-run electric cooperatives in the country.”
Cebuano lawmakers mentioned in the Napoles affidavit are also demanding evidence.
Rep. Raul del Mar of Cebu City said he wrote Agriculture Secretary Prospero Alcala, asking for documents and details on the lawmaker’s alleged PDAF transactions with the agency.
“I never had any dealings with Napoles or her agents, he said. He also denied he had projects with former Cebu Rep. Clavel Martinez.
Rep. Gerald Gullas of Cebu’s 1st district said he was shocked to find out that he was included in the list. He reiterated that he only assumed office on June 1, 2013, and didn’t have any dealings with Napoles or her agent, Cheryl “Cheche” Yarra.
“Upon my assumption of office as congressman of the 16th Congress, the PDAF, having been declared by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional, was already abolished. Hence, no PDAF funds were ever disbursed or released to me,” he said.
Gullas wrote a letter to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, asking for a meeting to clear his name. “I know I did not do anything wrong,”he said.—With reports from Juliet Cataluña, Inquirer Northern Luzon; and Carmel Loise Matus, Inquirer Visayas