Ex-APEC solon signed ‘pork’ docus at Napoles office – Luy
PRINCIPAL witness Benhur Luy testified on Monday that former APEC representative Edgar Valdez signed pork barrel fund documents in the office of accused scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
During his testimony against Valdez, Luy said the former lawmaker personally signed letters endorsing Napoles’ bogus foundations to implement his projects using his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
Luy told the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division justices that Valdez, whose codename in the alleged scam is “Kuryente,” signed the documents in the conference room of JLN Corp. in the presence of Luy and Napoles.
Valdez represented electric cooperatives as Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC) congressman.
Luy said Valdez personally signed the following documents:
– March 2007 letter endorsing Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation Inc. (SDPFFI) to implement his P50 million agriculture project addressed to former Technology Resource Center (TRC) director general Antonio Ortiz, and a memorandum of agreement between SDPFFI and TRC in relation to the March 2007 endorsement letter
– July 2008 letter endorsing SDPFFI to implement his P10 million project addressed to former ZNAC Rubber Estate Corp. (ZREC) president Salvador Salacup, and a memorandum of agreement between ZREC and SDPFFI for the agriculture project
Luy said the first two documents were signed by Valdez in front of Luy and Napoles
at the JLN office in Discovery Suites.
Meanwhile, the second set of documents were signed by Valdez who personally brought these to the JLN office, Luy added.
“He (Valdez) affixed his signature in front of me in the conference room of JLN. (I was with) Madame Janet Lim-Napoles,” Luy said.
“I am familiar with the signature of Congressman Valdez. He signed the two documents in front of me. The others he personally brought the documents to our office,” he added.
During Luy’s testimony, Valdez, a lawyer representing himself, pointed out that his PDAF documents were printed in different formats.
He said the two sets of documents were typed as a short bond size but printed in long bond paper. He added that these do not have his printed name in the letter head, and do not contain his committee membership at the bottom of the page, as his usual practice.
Lead prosecutor Atty. Jacinto Dela Cruz Jr. said a fifth document – Valdez’s May 2008 endorsement letter for the National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor) to implement his P10 million agriculture project – contained the committee memberships of Valdez at the bottom of the page.
Valdez’s counsel Joel Ferrer said the prosecutor practically confirmed that the documents presented as evidence had different formats.
He said this inconsistency bolsters their claim that the documents were just downloaded from the Internet.
Ferrer said he had moved to examine the said documents by the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
“(The documents had) different entries… We are manifesting that these documents be submitted for examination by the appropriate agency,” Ferrer said.
In its indictment against the former congressman, the Ombudsman said Valdez endorsed his PDAF-funded projects to Napoles-controlled foundations.
Prosecutors said the projects like livelihood programs, distribution of farm inputs and farm implements, agricultural starter kits, technology transfer training via video courses and printed materials, vegetable seeds, gardening packages, knapsack sprayers, concentrated fertilizers, and other tools and equipment never went to their beneficiaries.
“(The) PDAF of Valdez was never used for the intended projects as these were considered ‘ghost’ projects, with fabricated documents submitted for its liquidation,” the Office of the Ombudsman said.
The Ombudsman noted that “the mayors and municipal agriculturists reported that they never received anything from the office of Valdez, or from any of the project partners.”
Valdez is detained at Camp Bagong Diwa as he faces the plunder charges. Also detained for plunder over the scam are Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr, and Masbate governor and former congresswoman Rizalina Lanete. Senator Juan Ponce Enrile was released from hospital detention after the Supreme Court granted him bail on humanitarian grounds.
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