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'Pork' audit reveals phony solon, ghost grantees, dubious receipts, illegal firms

August 16, 2013 10:43pm

A fictitious Member of Congress, ghost recipients, questionable receipts for expenses, suppliers operating without permits, and Janet Lim-Napoles-linked non-government organizations were among the key findings of the Commission on Audit's special audit of pork barrel funds.
 
The special audit did not cover all the pork barrel funds. It included P8.374 billion from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and P32.664 billion in “Various Infrastructure including Local Projects” or VILP. PDAF is the “soft portion” of pork barrel while VILF is the “hard portion”, but there are also other sources.
 
COA chairperson Maria Gracia Pulido-Tan said the audit covered PDAF released from 2007 to 2009 by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Central Office and regional offices for the National Capital Region, Central Luzon, Bicol and the Davao provinces.
 
Pulido-Tan said the audit also regarded as pork barrel the financial assistance to local government units and budgetary support to government owned or controlled corporations, “also for the implementation of projects identified by the legislators.”


 
 
Based on available DBM documents provided, the COA report found that “releases for projects identified by 74 legislators exceeded their respective allocations” 
 
The COA chief said the audit took two years to do and covered releases to these implementing agencies and instrumentalities of government also known as “IAs”:
 
- Department of Agriculture
- Department of Public Works and Highways
- Department of Social Welfare and Development
- Technology and Livelihood Resource Center/Technology Resource Center
- National Livelihood Development Corporation
- Zamboanga del Norte Agricultural College (ZNAC) Rubber Estate Corporation
- City Governments of Mandaluyong, Manila, Quezon, Taguig, Las Piñas, Tabaco, Iriga, Naga, and Panabo; and the
- Provincial Governments of Tarlac, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental
 
The COA report revealed that the DBM was unable to provide its special audit team  “despite repeated requests, with (the) complete schedule of releases per legislator” and only P32.347 billion in VILF releases had a schedule of releases and even that “was found deficient.”

Pulido-Tan said they found that P20 million released to a Luis Abalos. The COA noted that there was no Luis Abalos among the list of congressmen in the 13th and 14th Congress.

Seventy-four legislators  "exceeded their respective allocations" for pork barrel funds, the COA said.

The country's lead state audit agency learned that DBM releases were made for projects outside the legislative districts of congressmen and to implementing agencies (IAs) without the administrative and technical capabilities to implement the project for for no specific purpose at all.

Other findings include:

- Substantial amounts were transferred to NGOs, without any appropriation law or ordinance authorizing such transfer and were used for projects not eligible. The reported projects were supported with questionable and/or spurious documents;

- 772 projects amounting to P6.156 billion were implemented in ways that was "not proper and highly irregular"  by 82 NGOs;

- A number of NGOs along with their suppliers turned out to be unknown or unlocated at their given addresses, or have given non-existent addresses, or addresses traced to a mere shanty or high-end residential units without any NGO signages;

- Some NGOs and suppliers which cannot be located at their given addresses, had no permits to operate business or not registered with the Securities and Echange Commission; and

- Six NGOs were incorporated by legislators themselves or their relatives.  — ELR, GMA News
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