GOCC officials got pork kickbacks, lawyer says

from a report by Niko Baua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 07 2013 12:22 AM | Updated as of Sep 07 2013 08:33 AM

MANILA - Two of the resource persons invited to the Senate inquiry on the pork barrel scam on Thursday received money from businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, a lawyer of whistleblowers said Friday.

Atty. Levito Baligod, who represents former Napoles employees now making allegations against her, said the names of at least two officials who testified at the Senate Thursday are in the accounting records of Napoles.

Baligod declined to name names.

Those who testified at the Senate include former National Agribusiness Corp. (NABCOR) president Alan Javellana and Zamboanga Rubber Estate Cor. (ZREC) head Salvador Salacup.

The two officials said they were fooled by fake nongovernment organizations who got millions of pesos from the pork barrel funds of senators and congressmen.

They also claimed that they did not know that the funds went to bogus foundations linked to Napoles.

Baligod on Friday accompanied pork scam whistleblowers who met with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

He said former officials of government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) involved in the scam may also be charged.

"Kasama sila sa panloloko sa kaban ng bayan," he said. "'Di lahat, meron sa kanila."

Baligod said whistleblowers personally prepared the money from Napoles for two of the officials who attended the Senate hearing.

Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero on Friday also said former officials of NABCOR and ZREC may be held liable for funneling legislators' pork barrel funds to bogus NGOs linked to Napoles.

Baligod said he expects the Justice Department to file cases of plunder and malversation of funds against Napoles and others involved in the alleged scam next week.

Napoles is held on charges of illegally detaining a former employee, Benhur Luy, who is now testifying against her.

She has denied all allegations, including participation in the scam.

Gardener among bogus NGO incorporators?

Meanwhile, a gardener from Magpet town in North Cotabato got the surprise of his life when he was summoned by the National Bureau of Investigation to explain how he became an incorporator in one of the bogus foundations linked to Napoles.

Efren Sedimo, who was named an incorporator of the Saganang Buhay sa Atin Foundation, said a sister-in-law, Lilian Espanol, once took care of Napoles' mother and gave his name to her boss.

"Noong 2008... tinanong ako ng bayaw ko kung kailan ang birthday ko, address ko, Sabi ko 'bakit mo tinatanong', sabi niya 'sige lang kapag may oportunity baka bigyan ka ng trabaho ng amo ko,'" he said.

Sedimo has been working for 18 years for the municipal government.

He lives at a farflung village in Barangay Poblacion. People need to cross a banana plantation and a stream before reaching his small hut.

Even local officials were surprised when Sedimo was linked to Napoles.

"Kilala ko kasi dito nagta-trabaho sa munisipyo araw-araw, hawak niya ang grasscutter," said Mayor Florentino Gonzaga. "Malayo sa katotohanan... high school graduate lang siya."

Former Magpet Mayor Efren Pinol has accompanied Sedimo to the NBI's Davao office to give a statement on the issue. - with reports from Lerio Bompat, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao; ANC