No mediamen named in ex-Nabcor men's affidavits

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 24 2014 03:48 PM | Updated as of Mar 24 2014 11:50 PM

MANILA - TV5 news anchor Erwin Tulfo and Radio DzBB broadcaster Melo del Prado have not been named in the sworn statements submitted to the Office of Ombudsman by former Nabcor officers Rhodora Mendoza and Victor Cacal, according to Justice Secretary Leila De Lima.

This, in spite of a Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) report naming the two as having benefited from "pork" funds as "advertising expenses," based on the affidavits of the Mendoza and Cacal.

Mendoza and Cacal are respondents in the "pork barrel" cases pending before the anti-graft body.

"Wala akong nakita doon," De Lima said, referring to the affidavits of Mendoza and Cacal.

The justice chief is set to meet with Atty Levito Baligod, one of the complainants in the "pork barrel" cases, to clarify the matter.

"Supposedly magmi-meet kme ni Atty Levi... so ikaclarify ko uli sa kanya yang mga allegations [vs mediamen]," De Lima said.

In a text message to ABS-CBN News after the chance interview, De Lima said there was an "explanation" for the absence of mediamen's names in the affidavits of the two ex-Nabcor officers.

"The way I understand it, the current affidavits only pertain to PDAF (Priority Devt Assistance Fund). But there are other funds/projects involving Nabcor and NGOs," De Lima said.

Tulfo has filed a P12 million libel suit against PDI.

A PDI report earlier said Mendoza and Cacal claimed Tulfo and del Prado received payoffs in the form of "advertising expenses" from the government agency in 2009.

Mendoza and Cacal said Tulfo received a check for P245,535 on March 10, 2009 drawn from a NABCOR account at United Coconut Planters’ Bank (UCPB), Tektite Branch PSE Center, Ortigas, Pasig City.

On the other hand, Del Prado, Carmelo del Prado Magdurulang in real life, received three checks totaling P245,535 on April 27, May 14, and July 6 in 2009, also drawn from the same UCPB account.

The checks were part of documents submitted by Mendoza and Cacal to the Office of the Ombudsman.

Cacal said apart from the vouchers justifying the processing of the payment, no other documents were provided to justify the expenses.

Tulfo said the article placed him in a bad light for being one of the alleged beneficiaries on the diversion of congressional allocations engaged in ghost projects of bogus foundations.

He said what he received was legitimate payment for advertising slots when he was still a radio commentator of RMN radio.

Lawyer Nelson Borja added that those payments were subject to taxes signed by Mendoza.

Meanwhile, GMA-DZBB will conduct a thorough investigation into the news report.

In a statement, Radio Operations Group consultant Mike Enriquez said: “In accordance with standard procedure, we will conduct a thorough investigation on any allegation of any violations. Due process will be observed and we will ensure that full sanctions will be applied if determined to be necessary.”

He said the network continues to adhere to standards of professional and personal behavior for all employees.