MANILA, Philippines - An umbrella organization of youth and student groups filed plunder and graft charges before the Office of the Ombudsman yesterday against Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam.
In a 13-page complaint filed by Youth Act Now (YAN), Alcala was accused of giving P36.025 million and P39 million, during his time as Quezon province congressman and DA secretary, respectively, to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs), including those controlled by alleged pork barrel fund scam brains Janet Lim-Napoles.
YAN said the Commission on Audit (COA) special audit report released in August last year showed how Alcala benefited from the alleged questionable transaction.
“On page 54 of the said report, the COA reported that 41 suppliers with purported transactions amounting to P352.136 million with 17 NGOs out of funds transferred by five implementing agencies denied their involvement and participation in the projects,” the group’s complaint stated.
“Among the transactions denied by the suppliers were those coming from the PDAF of then congressman Proceso Alcala of the 2nd District of Quezon who, together with other legislators, transferred funds to the Economic and Social Cooperation for Local Development Foundation Inc. amounting to P36.025 million,” it said.
The group said at least 54 of the supposed recipients were found unknown at their supposed addresses while 17 categorically denied receiving any assistance.
YAN said Alcala also admitted to the transfer of P39 million in public funds to Napoles and her NGOs based on his statement that P83 million for the Napoles group passed through the department but P44 million was not released because of supposed safety nets.
The group said the money include funds under the Organic Agricultural Program which Napoles’ NGOs also handled for San Antonio, Nueva Ecija; Umingan, Pangasinan; and the municipalities of Madrid, Hinatuan, Tago and Cantillan in Surigao del Sur.
YAN said Alcala “amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-gotten wealth, directly or indirectly through dummies, nominees, agents, subordinates and/or business associates” as a congressman and DA secretary.
“The respondent is the responsible public officer for both overt acts, as he has full control over his PDAF funds and its implementation, and he is the final approving authority for projects under his department,” the group’s complaint said.
Meanwhile, the DA is unfazed by the charges filed against Alcala.
DA Undersecretary and spokesman Emerson Palad said the department has not yet received a copy of the complaint but assured the public that Alcala is ready to answer the charges. – With Czeriza Valencia