MANILA - The Commission on Audit (COA) said P900 million in Malampaya funds went to questionable non-government organizations (NGOs) with links to businesswoman Janet Napoles in only 40 days.
During a hearing on Monday, Commission on Audit (COA) chairman Grace Pulido Tan today said the P900 million requested by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to supposedly assist local government units were released to 12 NGOs with links to Napoles.
These NGOs entered into a memorandum of understanding with DAR supposedly to assist several LGUs in regions 1, 2, 3 and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
The COA said agreements with the NGOs are not allowed unless there is a law regarding a specific program and that funds have been allotted to it.
Tan said that long before notices of cash allocation were issued, checks had already been issued to the 12 NGOs.
Of the 97 mayors who purportedly requested for assistance, she said 67 denied they ever signed request letters, 4 admitted signing letters but denied participating in the transactions, while the rest (26) have not responded to COA queries.
Tan said some of these NGOs even have the same account number in a Metrobank branch.
She also noted only 3 lawyers notarized all memoranda of agreement.
She also noted that the allotment per LGU did not exceed P10 million to allow an assistant secretary-level official to approve and process the transaction sans the nod of the secretary. Under the law, the signature of the secretary of the department is needed in transactions above P10 million.
Tan also noted that when COA investigators looked for the offices of the NGOs, either they were nowhere to be found or the address turned out to be a resident of the president or head of the NGO.
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee said it will invite in the next hearings on the Malampaya fund scam several personalities, including Napoles, Ruby Tuason, and former DAR officials Nasser Pangandaman, Rafael Nieto and Erlinda Panlilio.
Tan also enumerated agencies and departments that were recipients of the Malampaya fund, which was supposed to be earmarked for energy projects.
These totaled more than P38 billion.
Senator Nancy Binay has asked for the preliminary results, but was told by Tan that these are still confidential.
The COA chief vowed, however, to release the results of their audit on the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, National Housing Authority, Department of Agriculture and two of its attached agencies, and one municipality by the first quarter of 2015.
Tan, in an interview after the hearing, said these agencies also registered "red flags" but are still undergoing final stages of audit.