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MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) has blacklisted Pangkabuhayan Foundation Inc, a bogus non-governmental organization (NGO) that managed to get a total of P194.97 million from the pork barrel of at least 3 senators and a party-list congressman.
In its 2012 audit report on ZNAC Rubber Estates Corp (ZREC), an attached agency of the agriculture department, COA said the legislators have been informed not to grant further financial assistance to the NGO.
Pangkabuhayan Foundation was found to have submitted false documents to liquidate government funds received in 2009 and 2010.
The 2011 audit report on ZREC disclosed that senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr, and Buhay Rep Rene Velarde released a total of P206 million from their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to the Department of Agriculture (DA).
It was DA which turned over P201 million to ZREC, which in turn transferred P194.97 million to Pangkabuhayan Foundation Inc (PFI).
Of the amount that eventually reached PFI, P74.69 million came from Enrile’s pork barrel, P106.7 million from Estrada’s, P9.7 million from Revilla, and P3.88 million from Velarde’s, according to COA.
The disbursements were supposedly for agricultural development and livelihood projects of the legislators.
Sums were earmarked for the purchase of seedlings, fertilizers, hand tractors, water pumps, and composting/organic fertilizer facilities, as well as for the conduct of trainings and seminars for farmers.
Auditors, however, found that various documents submitted by PFI in support of supposed procurements – like official receipts, sales invoices, and delivery receipts – did not tally with those from the identified suppliers.
Two purported suppliers were found to be non-existent.
While the audit report stressed that the lawmakers’ offices specifically nominated PFI to implement their projects, the 3 senators have vehemently denied this and demanded a clarification from the DA.
Estrada likewise vowed to call for a congressional inquiry on the matter, saying he was assured that his PDAF will benefit farmers in the provinces.
Unheeded audit recommendations
COA recommended that ZREC compel PFI to refund P161.914 million that was liquidated using “fabricated documents and forged signatures” and to study legal actions against the NGO.
The agriculture department has also been instructed to submit for audit all disbursements vouchers pertaining to the release of P10 million to PFI in 2010.
Blacklisting PFI, warning legislators against further PDAF release, and tightening monitoring of project implementation were only a few of the COA recommendations. ZREC has not acted on 22 other recommendations of the audit agency.
COA said all PDAF disbursements since 2009 and subsequent years are already covered in a wider review being conducted by the Special Audits Office under the Special Services Sector.
This special audit body will come out with a separate report. It will also issue Notices of Disallowance on PDAF disbursement considered to be questionable.
COA said it has already sent out a total of 6,006 confirmation letters to various government agencies and beneficiaries as part of the ongoing audit investigations. – Rappler.com