SANDIGANBAYAN CONVICTS PORK BARREL QUEEN NAPOLES

Pork barrel queen Janet Lim Napoles could be slapped a jail sentence of more than 100 years after her conviction by the Sandiganbayan for graft as mastermind of the controversial P20-billion pork barrel scam.

Convicted with Napoles was former Cagayan de Oro Rep. Constantino Jaraula. They were were found guilty for pocketing P20.8 million worth of kickbacks from Jaraula’s pork barrel supposedly intended for non-governmental organizations.

The Sandiganbayan First Division affirmed the conviction of Napoles and Jaraula for graft and malversation in a decision released by the anti-graft agency on Friday, February 5.

They will be facing charges for three counts of graft and three counts of malversation, punishable by 36 to 108 years of imprisonment.

Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the P10-billion pork barrel scam, is currently jailed at the Correctional Institute for Women.

She was earlier convicted of plunder for allegedly embezzling P224 worth of Revilla’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Jaraula allegedly received P50.5 million of PDAF from 2004 to 2007 from fake projects under Napoles’ bogus foundation.

The complaints stemmed from principal whistleblower Benhur Luy who claimed of personally delivering commissions from bogus government projects to Jaraula.

READ MORE

ANTI-CORRUPTION: DUTERTE ASSURES GRAFT-FREE P4.5-TRILLION 2021 BUDGET

Will never allow dubious items in budget

 December 14, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte’s track record shows that he never allowed “dubious items” in the government’s national budgets and never will, Malacañang said Monday.Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after Senator Panfilo… Read More

NO PORK BARREL IN P4.5-TRILLION 2021 NAT’L BUDGET

VELASCO: “Let me assure you that there is no pork in the budget. “

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Monday assured the public that there are no ”pork barrel” allocations in the House-approved version of the proposed PHP4.5-trillion national budget for 2021.Velasco said a small committee in the House would introduce “institutional amendments”… Read More

PORK BARREL SQUABBLE BEHIND OUSTER PLOT VS. CAYETANO

Getting a bigger slice of pork barrel funds in the 2021 national budget is behind moves to oust Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.

This was however denied by appropriations committee chairman Rep. Eric Yap as Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said that pork barrel funds was behind the rumored coup plot against Cayetano. The rumor to oust the Speaker came as Davao City First District Rep. Paolo “Pulong” Duterte said he had instigated a move to replace Cayetano due to complaints by lawmakers over small allocation of funds to their district in the national budget.

House suspends Monday session amid coup threat

Palace says timely passage of 2021 budget ‘non-negotiable’

President Rodrigo Duterte wants the PHP4.5-trillion proposed budget for 2021 passed before the end of the year amid squabbles among members of the House of Representatives over budget allocations for infrastructure.Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte finds any delays in… Read More

Pass budget first, House members urged amid speakership issues

Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte on Monday urged his colleagues in the House of Representatives to swiftly pass the proposed PHP4.506-trillion budget for 2021 amid the brewing speakership dispute over the infrastructure funds allocated for legislative districts.Villafuerte made… Read More

UNGAB: No pork in 2020 budget

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee,  on Friday said the version of the PHP4.1-trillion 2020 budget approved by the bicameral conference committee and ratified by both Houses of Congress contains no pork and no parked funds.

Ungab said the 2020 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) is in compliance with the “express instructions” of President Rodrigo Duterte as it would be a powerful tool to help deliver his goal of a “safe and comfortable life for all.”
Ungab said the budget process was undertaken with “utmost transparency.”

READ MORE

Duterte won’t allow unconstitutional provisions in 2020 budget

“It represents the clear 2020 vision of the President and his economic strategy anchored on increased spending in infrastructure and human capital development. The projects outlined under the 2020 budget will help sustain our status as one of Asia’s best-performing economies,” he said.

“Attempts to label the 2020 budget pork-ridden by constantly redefining ‘pork’ is unfair and misleading. The Supreme Court has already declared pork barrel funds as unconstitutional and clearly defined what constitutes pork. The 2020 budget is pork-free,” he added.
The lawmaker noted that all changes made in the GAB were aligned with the President’s priorities and were based on the recommendations of the Cabinet Departments and other government agencies.
“Both houses ratified the budget bill. The representatives of both the Senate and House agreed on the amendments to, and final version of, the 2020 GAB at the bicameral conference committee,” he said.
On Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said there is no room for unconstitutional provisions in the proposed 2020 national budget.
Panelo made this assurance following concerns raised by Senator Panfilo Lacson that members of the House of Representatives allegedly made last-minute insertions prior to the signing of the budget by the bicameral conference committee.
“Provisions in the budget that run counter to the Constitution will be vetoed by the President, there is no change in that policy,” Panelo said in a statement.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, like Panelo, earlier said the President will not hesitate to use his veto powers as he did when he vetoed the 2019 national budget.
The House approved House Bill No. 4228, or the General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2020, on Sept. 20 while the Senate passed its version on Nov. 27.
Duterte earlier said he wanted to avoid a repeat of the nearly four-month delay in 2019 budget enactment due to an impasse between the House and Senate on realignments made by some House members.
In his veto message on the 2019 budget, Duterte said he would “not tolerate any attempts to circumvent the Constitution”, and vetoed PHP95.3 billion items of appropriations under the budget because they were “not within programmed priorities”. 

ALVAREZ TAGGED IN P50 BILLION ‘INSERTION” IN P3.7 TRILLION 2019 BUDGET

BY ROGER M. BALANZA

Members of the House of Representatives have discovered that about P50 billion in questionable   funds in House Bill (HB) No. 8169 or the 2019 General Appropriations Act of 2019, were allegedly ‘inserted’ at the time when Davao del Norte Congressman Pantaleon Alvarez was the sitting House Speaker.

In wake of the discovery, House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered a review of the  proposed P 3.757 trillion budget. Plenary debates on the budget were supposed to have started on Monday, September 17.

arroyo alvarez rappler

Arroyo ordered the review after receiving reports of congressmen saying that there are about P50 billion worth of “misplaced” funds inserted in the budget allocated to several congressional districts.

The insertion discovered by the congressmen  in the 2019  budget would be similar to the controversial  Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) also known as “pork barrel fund” that has been declared as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

The misuse of the PDAF by members of Congress in the previous administrations before it was outlawed by the Supreme Court, created a political scandal in an investigation on the so-called “PDAF scam” or the “pork barrel scam,” involving ghost projects and millions of pesos in kickbacks going to the pockets of members of Congress who choose projects funded by the congressional fund.

The campaign against corruption in government is one of the top priorities of President Rodrigo Duterte and lawmakers have assured the President and Speaker Arroyo that there will be no pork barrel funds in the 2019 budget.

The P50 billion questionable fund was allegedly inserted when the 2019 budget was being prepared during the time of Alvarez.

The alleged insertion has placed in hot water House committee on appropriations chairman Davao City Congressman Karlo Nograles, who nearly lost his chairmanship as legislators questioned how the P50 billion was included in the 2019 budget.

It is the Nograles committee that reviews the budget before it is tossed to plenary for debates.

Nograles was also the chairman of the powerful committee during the time of Alvarez, when the insertions were said to have been executed.

The Davao City congressman, son of former Speaker Prospero Nograles, was among the committee chairpersons appointed by Alvarez, but he retained his position by voting for Arroyo when Alvarez was ousted in a coup in July.

Alvarez has denied having a hand in the insertions, a report in a national daily said. Sources,  quoted in other reports, said the insertion was done  before Alvarez was replaced by Arroyo.

“I don’t know what they are talking about. Why should I insert budget outside of my district? It does not make sense,” Alvarez said.

The discovery of the alleged insertion has moved the House leadership to postpone the scheduled start of the plenary debates on the 2019 budget on September 17.

andaya

Revealing details of the insertions,  House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya  said that at least 50 congressmen told Arroyo about the inserted funds.

According to Andaya, the congressmen will testify that there are allocations and activities happening in their districts which they are not aware of involving funds from  the 2018 budget as well as the proposed 2019 budget.

This means that the congressmen were seeing projects, that they were not aware of,  being implemented in their districts.

Apparently, the insertions could lead to a full blown investigation by the House.

Andaya said the congressmen will be helping the House leadership in ferreting out the insertions.

We are in the process of looking for this so-called P50 billion. Our budget is at the trillions already, so it would take some time to sift through all of it. Luckily, with the aid of a lot of the congressmen, we are slowly zeroing in on this so-called insertions, Andaya said.

The issue is how the budget was allocated and how the previous budget or the present budget is being spent,” said Andaya.

Andaya said the House leadership plan to realign parts of the 2019 budget found to be insertions.

The House would already have started  deliberating on the 2019 budget at the plenary Tuesday, September 18.

Rumors spread in the House on Monday about Nograles’ ouster as appropriations chairman in wake of the insertion issue.

This developed as Nograles crossed words with Andaya over the proposed 2019 budget during a meeting of the appropriations committee.

Reportedly, the House leadership  wanted Nograles  to sign another committee report on the 2019 budget in lieu of the original report that reportedly contained the insertions.

The appropriations chairman  denied during the meeting that P50 billion was allegedly inserted into the budget for the district projects of several lawmakers.

“We will defend the general appropriations bill that was approved by the committee on appropriations, that was approved by the rules committee, that is now sitting on the desk of each and every congressman on the floor, and that is what we will defend on the floor, that is what we will debate upon on the floor,” Norales said at the meeting.

Clashing with Nograles, Andaya said the Nograles committee has not submitted any committee report to the committee on rules which he chairs.

Andaya added that Nograles also did not submit a second committee report in lieu of the original report of the appropriations committee.

Indictment of Napoles in US bolsters gov’t case

Malacañang on Thursday said the indictment of Janet Lim-Napoles before the United States Department of Justice has strengthened the government’s case against the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind.

“We view the United States federal grand jury indictment against Mrs. Janet Lim-Napoles as a positive development, as it bolsters the government’s case against her before the Sanddiganbayan,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

UPDATE: NAPOLES KIN FLEES

Last Wednesday, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed that the US Department of Justice has charged Napoles and her five family members — children Jo Christine, James Christopher and Jeane; and her brother Reynald Lim and his wife Ana — with money laundering and conspiracy.

Napoles and her family members allegedly conspired to illegally transmit Philippine government funds worth USD20 million to the US to buy real estate assets and luxury vehicles.

“The charge of money laundering against Mrs. Napoles and her co-defendants shows that there is reason to believe that they attempted to retain the ill-gotten gains from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam,” Roque said.

RELATED STORIES

Roque believed that with the continuous coordination with US authorities, the funds that Napoles and her co-defendants stashed will soon be returned for the benefit of Filipinos.

“As more of Mrs. Napoles’ schemes come to light, it becomes imperative to charge all those who illegal profited from her transactions, regardless of their position or political affiliation,” Roque said.

Napoles, currently detained at the Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, previously asked the Supreme Court to stop her indictment in the PDAF cases but her petitions had been dismissed. (PNA)

Nogie’s P600M PDAF biggest in Congress

The alleged misuse of P47.5M worth of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) by Davao City First District Congressman Prospero Nograles may only be a tip of the iceberg in the former House Speakers alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.

The Ombudsman has filed graft charges against Nograles , who, as House Speaker, acted as  caretaker-representative of Misamis Oriental’s First District following the death in June 2008 of Representative Danilo Lagbas.

SPECIAL AUDIT. Commission on Audit chair Grace Pulido-Tan shows the special audit of lawmakers' pork barrel from 2007-2009 at a press conference on August 16. Photo by Rafael Taboy/Rappler.com

SPECIAL AUDIT. Commission on Audit chair Grace Pulido-Tan shows the special audit of lawmakers’ pork barrel from 2007-2009 at a press conference on August 16. Photo by Rafael Taboy/Rappler.com

As the misuse of the pork barrel became a full-blown scandal late last year, news reports said the Commission on Audit (COA) released a report on the PDAF allocations of members of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The alleged COA report  had Nograles getting more than P600 million of PDAF, the second biggest next to former Compostela Valley congressman Manuel “Way Kurat” Zamora who had P1.2 billion. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) would later say that the PDAF figure of Zamora was a technical error.

       The Ombudsman has already filed graft and plunder charges against several lawmakers,  and its continuing investigation may lead to the more than P600 million PDAF released to Nograles.

        

 

 

PDAF SCAM UPDATES – Durian Post No. 149

p12 (1)‘President Revilla’ joins rats, ok-oks in police jail

BY ROGER M. BALANZA

The senator who wanted to run for president of the Philippines in the 2016 elections had rats and cockroaches for company in a jail where he was locked up for links to massive plunder involving P10 billion in government funds.

Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla also complained his detention cell at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame was hot.

Revilla, also an actor, voluntarily surrendered, with family and relatives in tow,  to  the Sandiganbayan before the anti-graft court could serve him a warrant of arrest on charges of graft and plunder in the P10-billion Priority  Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

PDAF scam queen Janet Lim Napoles, who implicated Revilla and senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, is detained in Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna for illegal detention filed against her by Benhur Luy, a relative and former employee who spilled the beans on Napoles’ racket.

Napoles was among 32 other people issued warrants of arrest by the Sandiganbayan in relation to the graft and plunder charges against Revilla.

The opposition senator said the charges against him are politically motivated engineered by the administration of President Benigno Aquino.

He said his arrest would not stop his plan to run for president in 2016.

“I will run if the people demand it,” he said. “Who knows, for the first time, we’ll have a President who is a prisoner.”

Unlimited ‘pork’ for Bong in jail

 The word “pork” may be most abominable to him, but Senator Bong Revilla can gobble up tons of pork he wants in his detention cell at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center.

The phobia is understandable. Revilla is locked up at the police detention cell in Camp Crame over over pork but of another kind, the congressional Priority Assistance Development Fund (PDAF) also known as pork barrel. For months like a slice of pork on a stick, he has been barbecued, broiled, roasted and crucified for grand thievery of public money.

            He is accused of pocketing millions of pesos in kickbacks from ghost projects he endorsed funded by his PDAF allocation and implemented by ghost non-government organizations of pork barrel scam queen Janet Lim Napoles.

Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, spokesman of the PNP, said there is no limit to Revilla’s relatives bringing food to the jailed senator. And that should include pork.

Jinggoy joins Bong in Camp Crame jail

Teary-eyed Senator Jinggoy Estrada, an actor, has made his second trip to a jail.

The Sandiganbayan ordered the arrest of Senator Jinggoy Estrada for plundering millions of pesos in taxpayers’ money.

The senator also landed in jail in 2001 on a plunder rap for accepting bribe money from illegal gambling. The case, however, was dismissed.

The 5th division of the Sandiganbayan issued the warrant of arrest after finding  probable cause in the opposition senator’s involvement in the P10 billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

He is the third persona to land in jail over PDAF. Scam queen Janet Lim Napoles is detained in Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

Earlier, the anti-graft court also ordered the arrest of senator Bong Revilla on the same charge of plunder and graft filed by the Ombudsman.

The Sandiganbayan is still to issue a warrant against senator Juan Ponce Enrile, the third senator implicated by scam queen Janet Lim Napoles. In the P10-Billion PDAF racket.

 

 

 

COA unearths stink in P18M Davao City road projects

pork (1)Special Audit Team questions 70% of project cost

 BY SILVER C. BALANZA

The Commission on Audit (COA) has served notice to a contractor and several officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Davao City District Engineering Office (DCDEO) that it is payback time for two road projects worth P17.9M that had been slapped by the government audit agency with a Notice of Disallowance in the amount of P12.9M involving 70 percent of the project cost.

The two road projects — Rehabilitation/Improvement along San Pedro Extension-Fr. Selga St. & Circumferential Road, and Sandawa Road to Ecoland Terminal, Tulip Drive to Ecoland Drive — were implemented in the First District of Davao City during the incumbency of then Davao City First District representative and House Speaker Prospero Nograles.

click

A COA Special Audit Team found no deficiencies in only about thirty percent of the P17,948,072.84 project, but issued the Notice of Disallowance on the remaining P12,966,395.91 that it said was “irregular, excessive and unconscionable.”

wiscams-scandals13The key figures found by the audit team as liable for the anomalous transaction are Engr. Lorna Ricardo, the former DCDEO District Engineer, for signing Certificate of Completion and for approving payment despite deficiencies in the project,  and contractor Elaine Gardiola, proprietor of E. Gardiola Construction, for submitting spurious documents and for sub-contracting the project.

Payment to E. Gardiola Construction was covered by Disbursement Voucher No. 101-1004726/Check No. LBP 01388263 dated April 29, 2010 in the amount of P17,948,072.84.

p11 (2)Thirteen other officials and employees of the DCDEO were also included by the Special Audit Team in the Notice of Disallowance.

The COA audit team composed of Maria Victoria Ranada, Attorney VI, Special Audit Team Supervisor and Araceli Pantaleon-Geli, State Auditor IV, Audit Team Leader, recently served the Notice of Disallowance to DCDEO District Engineer Fernando Ongkingco, Jr.

The audit team ordered Ongkingco to direct the persons liable in the anomalous transaction “to settle immediately the disallowance.”

Under the law, disallowances if not disputed and justified are subject to return of the public money and filing of criminal, civil and administrative charges against the liable persons..

The other DCDEO officials found liable by the Special Audit Team were Eng. Milagros delos Reyes, then the Asst. District Engineer and head of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC); Engr. Dwight Vincent Fernandez, Chief of Maintenance Section and member of the Inspectorate Team; Eng. Gregorio Yee, Asst. District Engineer and member of the Inspectorate Team; and Engr. Cecilia Barrientos, then chief of the Materials & Quality Control Section (MQCS)  and member of the Inspectorate Team.

 Eng. Emilio Sucaldito, then head of the Estimating Committee; Engr. Eduardo Villar, then Project Engineer;  Eng. Lilibeth Sarmiento, then the Project Estimator; Eng. Ma. Gloria Sorrera, then head of the BAC Secretariat; Engr. Perry Neil Palacio, Asst. Chief, MQCS and Engr. Alfredo Caballero, then Project Inspector.

 Nelson Luayon, Administrative Officer and member of the Estimating Team;; Rolly Tulayba, Laboratory Technician; and Restituto Mira, security guard.

 “The amount of P12,966,395.91 is disallowed in audit for being “irregular, excessive and unconscionable,’ said the Special Audit Team.

 It said the “disbursement was irregular in that the plan was prepared and the construction done without compliance to the set of standards of the DPWH.

The Special Audit Team said it found the project “excessive in the cost of labor and material overpriced by more than 100%.

Further, the team said that the contractor claimed payment for part of the project   (Rehabilitation/Improvement/Resurfacing along Ecoland Drive) that was already implemented and paid for in another project awarded to another contractor.

The issuance of the Notice of Disallowance to a project implemented by the DPWH-DCDEO comes on the heels of reports by COA auditors about irregularities in DPWH projects worth P17 billion.

COA Chairperson Grace Pulido Tan said COA conducted a nation-wide audit upon the request of DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson in wake of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam that dragged the DPWH and lawmakers into the multi-billion peso racket of alleged scam queen Janet Lim Napoles.

PDAF also known as pork barrel allocates P200 million to each senator and P70 million for every congressman.

Efforts to get a statement from Engr. Ricardo failed as she is now said to be assigned in Davao del Norte.

 

 

The Durian Post also failed to get a statement from District Engineer Ongkingco, who was in the field when his office was contacted, on whether or not the E. Gardiola contract subject of the Notice of Disallowance was funded by the PDAF of Nograles or if the same projects in the contract were among the ‘irregularities’ in DPWH projects.

An earlier COA report said Nograles had been allocated more than P600 million in PDAF, the highest among congressmen next to the P2.8 billion of former Compostela Valley Congressman Manuel ‘Way Kurat’ Zamora. The figure on Zamora’s PDAF would later be corrected by COA as ‘erroneous.”