News Stories

Topics: Barack Obama, Foreign minister, Bashar al-Assad Pages: 7 (2113 words) Published: October 12, 2013
Story 1: AGENCIES CONFIRM TRANSFER OF PDAF TO FAKE NGOs
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee continues to investigate the pork barrel scam, a system of kickbacks for lawmakers and public officials. Subsidiary agencies of the Agriculture Department are in the hot seat, revealing some of the scam’s complex layers. Ayee Macaraig reports.

The pork barrel scam unravels. This time, subsidiary agencies of the Agriculture Department come under fire. Former heads of the National Agribusiness Corporation or NABCOR and ZNAC Rubber Estate Corporation or ZREC face the Senate Thursday, admitting their agencies transferred lawmakers’ development funds to fake NGOs linked to Janet Napoles. Former NABCOR and ZREC officials confirm what the Commission on Audit told the Senate a week ago.

RHODORA MENDOZA, FORMER NABCOR VP FOR FINANCE: I am very sure of the 3 senators: Revilla, Estrada and Enrile.

SALVADOR SALACUP, FORMER ZREC HEAD: Cong Valdez, Cong Velarde, Sen Estrada, Enrile, Revilla coursed PDAF through ZREC.

The lawmakers are not the only ones in a bind.
Former NABCOR president Alan Javellana and former ZREC head Salvador Salacup say they approved the NGOs based on mere documents and did not check their offices or the actual project implementation. Senators say this violates the procurement law and COA circulars.

FRANCIS ESCUDERO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: Based on endorsement, hook line and sinker, pasok na, go na yun? No performance bond, no other requirements as long as endorsed by legislator?

JAVELLANA: Yes.

Javellana also admits he met Napoles twice in her office building, thinking she was a prospective NABCOR investor. He also met her cousin now principal witness Benhur Luy but can’t remember the names of the legislators whose endorsement letters Luy carried.

TEOFISTO GUINGONA III, CHAIRMAN, BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE: Yung mga detalye parang kape, walang pinakain sa iyo, naalala niyo. Pero ang lawmakers di mo maalala. Selective memory ata iyan. Sino ang lawmakers? Give me one?

JAVELLANA: Estrella I mentioned earlier.

Javellana’s former subordinate Rhodora Mendoza helps him out. She says the 3 senators did not just endorse the supposed Napoles NGOs but even signed their liquidation papers. Senator TG Guingona says this helps nail down the senators, who deny knowing about the scam and blame the implementing agencies. Senators aim to summon Luy and other whistleblowers before inviting their own colleagues to explain.

AYEE MACARAIG, REPORTING: Who is at fault: lawmakers or the implementing agencies? Both sides are pointing fingers as they face public pressure to account for billions in taxayers' money. The investigation here shows that the pork barrel scam is a complex issue where law and accountability broke down in not just one but many levels… with officials left to plead either incompetence or guilt. Ayee Macaraig, Rappler.

Story 2: MORE NAPOLES-LIKE SYNDICATES PROBED
Malacañang says an inter-agency council is also investigating networks of fake NGOs outside of Janet Lim-Napoles' syndicate that also received lawmakers' pork barrel. Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda says the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council or IAAGCC will also investigate others linked to anomalous NGOs based on the Commission on Audit’s 2007-2009 special report. On Friday, COA released a report which found 12 senators and 180 representatives channeled their pork barrel to questionable NGOs. At least P6.156 billion were released to these NGOs.

The report also exposes the names of other syndicates behind questionable organizations that received government funds. Rappler's special reports in July on the National Agri-Business Corporation also shows fake NGOs getting fund releases during the Aquino administration. Another Rappler report shows that NGOs like these are endorsed by lawmakers and accredited by implementing agencies.

Story 3: AMLC TO PROBE OTHER 'PORK SCAM' ACCOUNTS
The Anti-Money Laundering Council or...
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