Andaya, Napoles and children indicted for Malampaya scam, GMA cleared
MANILA — Indicted members of the Arroyo Cabinet include: House Deputy Speaker Rolando Andaya, Jr., then the budget secretary; then budget undersecretary Mario Relampagos; and then Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary (now Masiu, Lanao del Sur Mayor) Nasser Pangandaman; and then agrarian reform undersecretary Narciso Nieto.
Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, her children Jo Christine and James Christopher, and political liaison Ruby Tuason, will also be haled to the Sandiganbayan.
The indicted individuals face two counts of plunder, 97 counts of malversation through falsification of public documents, and 97 counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for causing undue injury to the government and giving unwarranted benefits to private parties.
Morales’ finding of probable cause is still subject to appeal.
As for Arroyo, her then executive secretary Eduardo Ermita, and two DAR personnel, Morales dismissed the criminal complaint against them for “insufficiency of evidence.”
While Tuason returned ₱40 million to the government and turned state witness in the pork barrel scam, this immunity did not save her from indictment for the Malampaya fund scam. In this case, she was accused of receiving a ₱242.775-million commission.
The staff of Napoles, meanwhile, were said to have been directly involved in forging the signatures of the purported beneficiaries of the projects.
Morales said 12 spurious non-government organizations linked to Napoles had cornered the projects for 97 municipalities by fabricating letters of request from their mayors.
Ombudsman investigators, however, found the documents to be fictitious, as the agricultural kits never found their way to the intended beneficiaries.
Arroyo had signed Executive Order No. 848 on Oct. 13, 2009 that expanded the use of the Malampaya fund outside of the energy industry, five days after Andaya made a request that the Malampaya funds be tapped as aid to farmers amid disaster in much of Luzon.
The National Bureau of Investigstion, which initiated the case in 2013, found that Arroyo’s order paved the way for the NGOs to be funded for what would turn out to be ghost projects.
It said that even two months before Arroyo issued the EO, Napoles had already instructed her staff to make the documents, including fake request letters from mayors, to be submitted to DAR in order to “corner” the ghost projects.
The memoranda of agreement for the projects were signed by the mayors and DAR Undersecretary Narciso Nieto. Nieto allegedly signed the checks that were released and deposited to the NGOs. The cash is then withdrawn and given to Napoles.
The NBI said the scheme could not have possibly unfolded had Arroyo not liberalized the use of the government’s share of the oil and gas revenues from the offshore natural gas field in Palawan.
Presidential Decree No. 910 in 1976 mandated that oil revenues be channeled to a “Special Fund to be used to finance energy resource development … and for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President.” SFM
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