MANILA - Two former officials of the National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR) have linked former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap to the multibillion-peso NABCOR fund mess.
According to the whistleblowers, Yap had a role in the hasty release, for instance, of some P50 million in NABCOR funds earmarked for farmers.
However, the money was allegedly used instead for the speedy confirmation of Yap in February 2007.
Rhodora Mendoza, former NABCOR vice-president for finance and administration, recalled when her former boss, NABCOR President Allan Javellana, forced her to sign vouchers and checks drawn against the state corporation's funds.
One of them was a check worth P50 million.
She was asked to sign despite not having having supporting documents where it would be used.
Javellana's explanation, she said, was that a NABCOR supplier advanced the money for it and it was now due to repay it to make things easy for Yap at the Commission on Appointments.
"Ang sinabi ni Mr. Javellana, 'Sorry for the rush kaya lang kailangang ibalik kasi kay Elmer.' Si Elmer daw po iyung nagbigay ng pera para daw sa confirmation ni Secretary Yap."
Acccording to Mendoza, Javellana allowed her to listen to his conversation with Yap through a speaker phone at his office several times to stress the need for her to sign the P50-million check at once.
"Tinawagan niya po ako. And then when I reached his room, naka-speaker phone. Pina-close niya iyung door," she said, adding that she is certain that Yap was the person on the other line.
"Yeah, he has this code, 'Sassy.'"
Yap, who is now a congressman from Bohol, denied the allegation..
"I don't know what they are saying. I never asked Javellana to do anything like that," he said in a text message to ABS-CBN News.
"Are they saying nabayaran ang mga members ng CA? Grabeng istorya naman 'yan!" he added.
However, even the second whistleblower, former NABCOR para-legal officer Victor Cacal, pointed at Javellana's superiors in the irregular releases of NABCOR funds, especially in the hasty release of funds to projects endorsed by lawmakers using their pork barrel funds.
"Alam ko rin po na may pressure din mula sa boss niya," he said. "May sinabi pa, 'The legislators are protectors. Dapat makisama tayo sa kanila.'"
ABS-CBN News tried to get Javellana's side, but he has yet to comment on the allegations.