Why Sotto won't answer pork scam allegations

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 26 2014 04:56 PM | Updated as of May 27 2014 01:11 AM

MANILA - Sen. Tito Sotto on Monday said he will not answer allegations that he has had transactions with Janet Lim Napoles because he does not think the issue is worthy of his attention.

Sotto said his staff regularly informs him of the allegations and that he has also read news reports.

"I don't answer because I don't think it deserves my attention. I was not senator from 2004 to 2010," he said.

An ABS-CBN report, however, revealed that Sotto allegedly had transactions with Napoles in 2011 or a year after he was elected.

Documents obtained by ABS-CBN News showed that Senator Tito Sotto sent a letter on November 2011, asking then-Senate finance committee chairman Franklin Drilon to endorse the release of P100 million worth of livelihood projects for farmers in Catanduanes.

When this was approved, the funds were directed to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

Sotto then allegedly wrote to Budget Secretary Florencio Abad to realign P70 million of the P100 million fund to the National Livelihood Development Center (NLDC).

When the money was transferred, Sotto again requested funds for three more non-government organizations.

These NGOs were allegedly among the bogus foundations set up by Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged brains behind the P10 billion pork barrel scam.

The documents also showed Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla, and Bongbong Marcos did the same.

From the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the money also went to DAR, then to the NLDC and to fake NGOs.

The documents bear the alleged signatures of Sotto, Estrada, Marcos, and Revilla.

Estrada, Sotto, and Revilla have said their signatures were falsified.

Sotto is one of several senators who allegedly had transactions with Napoles, based on the list submitted by the businesswoman to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.