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COA report links 2 more senators to Napoles NGOs

September 3, 2013 8:05pm

Two more senators had allotted millions of their pork barrel funds to a non-government organization (NGO) linked to controversial businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, a 2012 Commission on Audit (COA) report on local government units showed.

According to the COA report, Senators Loren Legarda and Bongbong Marcos gave P15 million and P10 million, respectively, to Pilar and Dinalupihan municipalities in Bataan, which released the money to People's Organization for Progress and Development Foundation, Inc. (POPDF), one of the NGOs that the COA had earlier linked to Napoles.

“POPDF was the recipient NGO identified and designated by the concerned senator to expedite the implementation of the project. Thus, the validation of the disbursements of Priority Development Assistance Funds cannot be made,” the COA report stated.

Marcos refused to comment on the issue, saying he will just wait for the result of the government investigation on the alleged scam involving the use of pork barrel funds, or formally known as Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

"I haven't seen that. Alam mo mahaba pa ito. Hinihintay ko lang lagi ang findings ng mga imbestigasyon. Mahirap magsalita... These are news reports. I am waiting for the investigative report," he said.

Legarda, on the other hand, has yet to respond on the issue.

“We will advise you should the senator have a response to what you have emailed. Thank you very much for the information,” lawyer Faye Condez, Legarda's legislative staff officer, said in a letter to GMA News Online editor-in-chief Howie Severino.

Before Marcos and Legarda, COA had earlier identified Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon Bong Revilla as among the lawmakers who channeled millions in their PDAF to NGOs linked to Napoles.

Pilar

In the audit report for the municipality of Pilar, COA said the local government received P35 million from the pork barrel funds of four senators. Of the amount, Legarda, Marcos and Revilla gave P10 million each, while Estrada gave P5 million.


The funds were said to be for POPDF's livelihood projects such as organic farming for high value crops for micro-entrepreneur and small farmers in the municipality.

The COA, however, noted some observations in its report:

  • funds were released even before the Memoranda of Agreement between the municipality and POPDF was notarized;
  • no reports of project completion were submitted by POPDF;
  • the disbursement reports submitted by the NGO were not supported by documents evidencing procurements and payments; and
  • the actual distribution of goods compared to the amount of fund transferred could not be ascertained.

Dinalupihan

The COA report on Dinalupihan, meanwhile, said P38 million from the PDAF of three senators were released to POPDF.

“The offices of Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Loren Legarda allocated to the Municipality the total amount of P38,000,000.00 from their Priority Development Assistance Fund,' the report said.

     
Just like in Pilar, the funds were transferred to POPDF.

COA said the municipality of Dinalupihan failed to submit the necessary documents needed for the release, implementation and liquidation of the funds.

The only documents submitted were official receipts from POPDF, Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), Work and Financial Plan, special allotment release order (SARO), letter from the office of the senator designating POPDF as project partner in the implementation of the livelihood project, Sanggunian Resolution concurring with the MOA, and signed list of recipients.

COA noted that the letters used the letterhead of the senators' office although they were signed by their respective chief of staff.

The audit agency also found out that the fund was immediately transferred to POPDF per letter of the Office of the Senator and a Sanggunian Resolution issued concurring with the MOA.

“Because the municipality transferred the fund to the POPDF, the rules on procurement under IRR of RA 9184 were disregarded. The reasonableness of the price of the various packages enumerated above could hardly be determined due to absence of the required documentation,” the report said.

Municipality personnel interviewed by COA said a letter of request was already sent to POPDF requiring additional documents needed in the liquidation, but no documents were submitted to them while the audit was being conducted.

“As a result of the above deficiencies, the fund transferred to POPDF cannot be fully substantiated,” the report said. — with Andreo Calonzo/KBK, GMA News




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