Napoles got DAP funds of 5 senators
MANILA, Philippines–Businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles’ fake nongovernment organizations (NGOs) got about half a billion pesos allocated to five senators from Malacañang’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional on Tuesday, records of whistle-blower Benhur Luy showed.
The Luy records indicated that Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Bong Revilla and Tito Sotto received a total of P425 million from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) as DAP funds between March and May 2012.
The Inquirer obtained last year Luy’s hard-disk drive containing more than 22,000 files of purported transactions that Napoles had in the course of her alleged siphoning of state funds to ghost projects and kickbacks. The digital files were submitted to the National Bureau of Investigation and later to the Office of the Ombudsman.
The senators’ DAP allocations were: Estrada, P100 million, special allocation release order (Saro) No. F-12-00221; Marcos, P100 million, F-12-00222; Revilla, P100 million, F-12-0220; and Sotto, P70 million, F-12-00224. All the Saros were dated March 15, 2012.
Enrile, the records showed, received P55 million with Saro numbers dated May 14 and May 18, 2012, in consecutive sequence: G-12-00379, G-12-00380, G-12-00381 and G-12-00382.
Enrile used several towns in Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Quezon and Leyte provinces as beneficiaries of his DAP allocations and designated Napoles’ fake NGOs as conduits of the funds, according to the Luy files.
The DAP allocations of the five senators were coursed through a government-owned corporation, National Livelihood Development Center (NLDC), and selected local government units (LGUs), the records showed.
Based on the memorandum of agreements (MOAs) and accomplishment reports of the Luy files, the lawmakers identified and designated the NGOs to implement the DAP-funded projects in coordination with the NLDC and several LGUs.
The livelihood projects outlined in the MOAs were baking, various handicrafts, floral arrangement seminars, hairdressing, candle making and the like.
The Napoles NGOs that the five senators used as conduits were Agri and Economic Program for Farmers Foundation Inc., Agrikultura para sa Magbubukid Foundation, Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation Inc., Kaupdanan para sa Mangunguma Foundation Inc., Ginintuang Alay sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc., Countrywide Agri and Rural Economic Development Foundation, Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation Inc., and People’s Organization for Progress and Development Foundation.
The senators maintained that they did not designate the NGOs to carry out their pet projects with funds meant to uplift the impoverished countryside and insisted that their signatures were forged.
Marcos, for example, has denied any involvement with the release of P100 million of DAP funds. He said even the signatures of his chief of staff, Ramon Cardenas, that appeared in MOAs to four NGOs were forged.
Several employees of the state-owned NLDC have also been indicted for graft in the Sandiganbayan. Among them were its two top officials, Gondelina Amata and Alexis Sevidal.
The records of Luy differed from the figures and dates released to the media last year by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad regarding the DAP. Asked for comment, Abad said: “I don’t know. That’s what appears in our records. I’m not familiar with the records of the whistle-blowers.”
Napoles earlier said in a sworn statement that Abad, while still a Batanes province representative, was her mentor in her PDAF scam. Abad has denied this.
The DAP was a savings impounding facility designed by the Aquino administration purportedly to accelerate spending on government projects and boost economic growth.
Little was publicly known of the facility until Estrada in September 2013 revealed in a privilege speech that senators received an additional pork of P50 million each as “incentive” following the conviction in May of Chief Justice Renato Corona for dishonesty in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.
Abad later confirmed the additional pork releases, but denied that these were “bribes.” He explained that the funds came from the DAP.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court unanimously declared the DAP unconstitutional, prompting calls in the Senate and House of Representatives to hold those responsible for the juggling of funds accountable.
Even so, two administration allies—Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Ralph Recto—defended the DAP, saying the funds were put to good use.
Different from PDAF
The DAP releases were separate from the graft-ridden Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel, allocations received by the senators for 2012.
Luy, Napoles’ former finance officer, earlier testified in the Senate that lawmakers who transacted with Napoles using her bogus NGOs allegedly received at least 50-percent kickbacks from the PDAF-funded projects.
Estrada, Revilla and Napoles have been indicted for plunder in the Sandiganbayan for alleged misuse of their PDAF entitlements from 2007 to 2009. Except for Enrile, the three are under detention.
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