Janet Napoles indicted over fertilizer fund scam

MANILA, Philippines – Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind, was indicted for graft and malversation of public funds over P5 million worth of projects in the large-scale fertilizer fund scam.

The Office of the Ombudsman said on Monday, July 23, that it found probable cause to charge Napoles and officials from the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Unit XIII (DA-RFU) in Butuan City for the anomalous purchase of fertilizers in Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte.

According to the graft investigators, the DA-RFU Caraga entered into an agreement with the municipality of Del Carmen in 2004 to buy P5 million worth of fertilizers through Philippine Social Development Foundation Incorporated (PSDFI), a non-governmental organization (NGO).

First, the investigators said, they sourced the funding from the 2002 General Appropriations Act (GAA) or national budget which "was effective only until December 2003."

"Hence, it could not have served as the appropriation law for the MOA (memorandum of agreement) executed in 2004," said the Office of the Ombudsman.

Investigators also found that the DA officials released the funds through PSDFI without complying with audit rules that money should be released in 3 tranches. (READ: Malampaya scam worse than fertilizer fund scandal)

"Records also show that no fertilizers were distributed in the municipality based on certifications issued by the municipality's agriculturist," reads the Ombudsman's statement.

As in other charges related to the fertilizer fund scam, there is also an accusation of overpricing in this case. 

The Ombudsman said fake liquid fertilizers were bought for P100 per 300 ml bottle, but were sold to DA-RFU for P800 per 300 ml bottle.

Aside from Napoles, also indicted were Edgardo Dahino, Jessica Da-an, Merylinda Santos, and Gerry Leop from the DA-RFU; and Evelyn de Leon and Rodel Pontillas from PSDFI. (READ: Joc-joc fertilizer scam and Jenny Napoles: More of the same) – Rappler.com 

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.