LP won’t protect members, allies from pork probe – Mar

The COA report lists allies and members of the ruling party linked to questionable projects funded through their pork barrel

PROBE ALLIES: Liberal Party president-on-leave Mar Roxas says administration allies will not be spared in the pork probe. Rappler file photo

MANILA, Philippines – The ruling Liberal Party (LP) will not protect its members and allies from other political parties tagged by the Commission on Audit in its pork barrel report, according to LP president-on-leave Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.

“The party position is they should all face investigation. Dapat lamang dahil pera ng tao ito at hindi dapat nawawalang-hiya ang pera ng tao,” Roxas told reporters on Monday, August 19, on the sidelines of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) briefing on “Maring”-enhanced monsoon rains. 

“It is clear among party members that we are pursuing ‘Tuwid na Daan.‘ The party will not be used to hide the truth,” Roxas added.

Roxas noted that the probe was initiated under an LP-led government, which he said is proof that the leadership of President Aquino is serious about its anti-corruption campaign.

President Aquino said he has ordered Justice Secretary Leila De Lima to run after lawmakers if there’s strong evidence to show that they abused their pork barrel allocations. 

A number of Liberal Party members and allies from different political parties have been tagged in the COA report because of questionable implementation of projects they funded through their pork barrel.

The anomalies vary in degree. Some lawmakers are tagged because the NGOs they selected to implement their projects failed to submit required documents. Other anomalies can be worse like projects implemented on private lots. 

A number of them are loyal LP members while others were former allies of President Gloria Arroyo who jumped ship when President Aquino won the presidency in 2010. 

Among LP members, the lawmakers tagged by COA are:

  • Customs chief Rozzano Rufino Biazon. The former Muntinlupa representative was tagged in the COA report because, among others, he favored a certain NGO even if the implementing agencies are different. Some suppliers involved in his projects did not have business permits or the NGOs he chose to implement his projects have yet to liquidate their balances. 
  • Iloilo City Rep Niel Tupas Jr. The lead prosecutor of the House panel that successfully convicted removed Chief Justice Renato Corona was tagged in the COA report for favoring a certain NGO even if the implementing agencies are different. Other suppliers in different projects do not have business permits, too.
  • Davao City Rep Isidro Ungab was tagged in the COA report for favoring a certain NGO even if the implementing agencies are different. 
  • House majority leader Neptali Gonzales II. A number of his projects violated the procurement law, according to COA. Suppliers identified in documents supposed to prove implementation of his projects denied the transactions. Some of his pork barrel went to office supplies, cleaning materials, and repair, among others. 
  • Zamboanga City Mayor Ma Isabelle Clima. The former House deputy speaker was tagged in the COA report for favoring a certain NGO even if the implementing agencies are different. Some suppliers also denied involvement in her projects.
  • Sen Ralph Recto was tagged in the COA report because some of NGOs he selected have unliquidated balances.
  • Marikina Mayor Del De Guzman was tagged in the COA report for favoring a certain NGO even if the implementing agencies are different. Some suppliers involved in his projects, when he was a representative, did not have business permits. He has projects that were set up on private lots, too.
  • Sen Francis Pangilinan. COA identified projects that do not comply with the procurement law. He also allocated P1.5 million of his pork barrel that remains unutilized.
  • Former Sen Ramon Magsaysay Jr supposedly violated procurement laws and his chosen NGOs have unliquidated balances. 

Among administration allies:

  • Former Sen Manuel Villar and wife Sen Cynthia Villar. The couple has an unutilized pork barrel allocation amounting to at least P2.4 million. COA interpreted this to mean either the “lack of technical capability to implement the project or the absence of need for the same.” The COA report also shows that Sen Cynthia Villar allocated, when she was Las Piñas representative, P3.2 billion to a project outside her district and built projects on private lots.
  • Sen Alan Peter Cayetano was tagged for various projects that supposedly did not comply with procurement laws. Other projects are not eligible under PDAF rules.
  • TESDA director-general Emmanuel “Joel” Villanueva. The former Cibac party list representative has pork barrel allocations that remain unutilized. Suppliers identified in other documents didn’t have permits to operate and his chosen NGOs have unliquidated balances.
  • Former Sen Edgardo Angara. The father of winning administration senatorial candidate Juan Edgardo Angara was tagged for giving his pork barrel to an NGO he controls. He is among the incorporators of Kalusugan ng Bata, Karunungan ng Bayan Inc, which received P14.4 million from his pork barrel. NGOs he selected to benefit from his pork barrel have unliquidated balances, too.

The COA special audit shows that the pork barrel anomaly is bigger than the alleged scheme of now fugitive Janet Lim-Napoles, who is accused of using dummy NGOs to siphon off a total of P10-billion in pork barrel. — Rappler.com