Senators tagged anew in 2012 'pork' irregularities

by Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 03 2013 07:43 PM | Updated as of Sep 04 2013 08:33 AM

MANILA - Several senators allocated their pork barrel funds to the People's Organization for Progress and Development (POPDF), a non-government organization (NGO) linked to businesswoman Janet Napoles, according to the 2012 annual Commission on Audit (COA) report on the towns of Dinalupihan and Pilar in Bataan.

In the case of Pilar, Bataan, the COA report showed P35 million was released to POPDF for livelihood projects for farmers.

Senators Bong Revilla, Loren Legarda, and Ferdinand Marcos Jr. gave P10 million each while Sen. Jinggoy Estrada allocated P5 million of his Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) to the said project.

However, during the audit of the said funds, the COA found several deficiencies:

- funds were released by the agency even before memoranda of agreement were notarized;

- No reports of project completion were submitted by POPDF as required in the memorandum of agreement;

- Although reports of disbursements were submitted by POPDF together with an Independent Auditor's Report, the same were not supported by documents evidencing procurements and payments;

- The actual distribution of goods compared to the amount of fund transferred could not be ascertained.

In the audit report of the town of Dinalupihan, Bataan, the COA discovered that P38 million was released to the POPDF to buy farm products for farmers, even if the rules on procurement under IRR of RA 9184 were disregarded.

The COA also observed that documentary requirements on the liquidation of funds were insufficient or incomplete.

Of the P38 million, P23 million came from Estrada, P10 million came from then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, and P5 million from Legarda.

According to the COA, the following documents were missing when the money was liquidated:

- No final utilization report, indicating the summary of expenses and the status report of accomplishment, certified by the accountant, approved by the President/Chairman of the NGO/PO and verified by the internal auditor or equivalent official of the GO;

- Except for the P5 million received from Legarda, no pictures of the actual distribution were attached;

- No liquidation report;

- No warranty for procurement of farm supplies.

In both Dinalupihan and Pilar, it was the senators who designated POPDF as the project partner through letters submitted to the LGUs.

Marcos has declined to comment on the issue until the investigation on the pork barrel scam is completed.

Legarda, meanwhile, denied knowing the people behind the spurious NGO.

"I do not know any of these people and have never dealt with them," she said in a text message to ABS-CBN News.

"Any person outside of my office who claims to be handling my projects is unauthorized and indulging in malicious and vicious imputations and should be held criminally liable," she added.

"We continually conduct due diligence as we always do in the monitoring of all our projects," Legarda said. "I have never given PDAF to any bogus NGO."