Syjuco admits his NGO got pork
ILOILO CITY—Former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) Director General Augusto “Boboy” Syjuco Jr. denied any wrongdoing in the use of pork barrel funds, but admitted that, as a new congressman in 1998, he formed his own nongovernment organization to implement projects from his Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF), more popularly known as pork barrel.
Syjuco served two terms as congressman (1998-2001 and 2001-2004) and was succeeded by his wife, Judy, as he neared his term limit.
“When I was a new congressman, we were told to form our own (nongovernment organization) so we wouldn’t have problems implementing projects funded by our PDAF,” said Syjuco in a phone interview.
“Why would I trust an organization I hardly know about?” he said.
Syjuco and his wife are facing a new graft case involving the use by Mrs. Syjuco of pork barrel funds on a project to supply school uniforms and supplies to children in her district through Tesda, which Syjuco then headed, and Tagipusuon Cooperative, a nongovernment organization that Syjuco formed and which held office in his residence in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo province.
Not Tesda job
The project was worth P20 million and, according to the Ombudsman, was highly irregular because supplying uniforms and supplies to school children is not part of the mandate of Tesda.
The case is one of many involving the abuse of pork barrel that have been either investigated by the Ombudsman or being tried by the Sandiganbayan.
The biggest case of pork barrel abuse so far is now being tried by the Sandiganbayan involving Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada and wheeler-dealer Janet Lim-Napoles.
The four are now detained while on trial for plunder, a nonbailable offense.
Syjuco said the case is another example of how the Aquino administration is persecuting him and his family for their closeness with now detained President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
“It is simply their perverted act of malicious political persecution, through vexatious and unjust prosecution by their partial Ombudsman,” Syjuco said in a statement.
He said he had filed a case against the Ombudsman at the United Nations International Court of Law for “manifest impartiality.”
“They [also] want to hurt my wife because they know I’m already used to being targeted by them. She is innocent like I am,” he told the Inquirer in a phone interview.
The Ombudsman filed at the antigraft court Sandiganbayan the new case against Syjuco, this time including his wife, on Aug. 5.
“The recent case filed by the Ombudsman in the Sandiganbayan is totally devoid of merit and reeks of political persecution,” said Syjuco.
A source from the Office of the Ombudsman earlier said there were 18 pending cases against Syjuco at the Sandiganbayan.
But Syjuco said there were only five cases against him and that he has filed 16 corruption and other cases against Aquino and his allies.