Which bets seeking nat’l posts are in the Benhur Luy files?

KD Suarez
Which bets seeking nat’l posts are in the Benhur Luy files?
The PDAF scam database reveals information about some candidates now running for national posts in the May elections

MANILA, Philippines – It was on April 1, 2014 when the first batch of charges related to the pork barrel scam were brought to the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan. But while several cases have been filed since then, only 5 government officials have so far been charged with plunder.

Evidence for filing charges was gathered based on the testimonies of the whistleblowers, and on the documents found in the retrieved hard drive of witness Benhur Luy.

The so-called Benhur Luy files included letters, cash flow statements, and other documents that implicated in the biggest corruption case uncovered in recent history a number of past and present lawmakers – some of them even running for various positions in this year’s elections.

Of those running for national positions, at least one presidential candidate, 3 vice presidential candidates, and 4 senatorial candidates are identified in the database. All of them denied being involved in the pork barrel scam.

Rappler reviews the Luy files, checks what kinds of documents carry the names of these candidates, and traces what has happened to them since the exposé.

Miriam Defensor-Santiago
Presidential candidate, People’s Reform Party

The name of the lady senator appears in at least two letters:

  • in an undated letter of Cabadbaran, Agusan del Sur mayor Herman Libarnes, who requested for P5 million financial assistance from Santiago’s office for the town’s coffee growers
  • in a letter of Santiago dated September 5, 2005, wherein she granted the request and informed the regional Department of Agriculture office about the allocation

Her name also appears in an Excel file – along with lawyer and former congresswoman Zeny Ducut – that shows businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles’ cash/check disbursement for September 30, 2005.

Ducut was former chair of the Energy Regulatory Commission and former Pampanga representative. The Ombudsman recently found probable cause to charge Ducut with graft and corruption in connection with the pork barrel scam.

Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr
Vice-presidential candidate, Independent

Among this year’s candidates for national office, Marcos’ name is among those that appear the most in the entire Luy database.

Documents show that Marcos – running-mate of Santiago and running as an independent candidate – authorized the release of multiple special allotment release order (SAROs) to finance various agricultural and livelihood programs in different local government units. At least 9 of these SAROs were identified to have been coursed through various NGOs:

SARO number Date issued NGO LGU recipient Amount
BMB-G-11-T000002822 October 7, 2011 Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation, Inc. SDPFFI Sariaya, Quezon P 10 million
BMB-G-11-T000002823 October 7, 2011 People’s Organization for Progress and Development Foundation, Inc. POPDF Pilar, Bataan P 10 million
BMB-G-11-T000002824 October 7, 2011 Countrywide Agri & Rural Economic Development Foundation, Inc. CARED Umingan, Pangasinan P 10 million
Countrywide Agri & Rural Economic Development Foundation, Inc. CARED Rosales, Pangasinan P 5 million
Countrywide Agri & Rural Economic Development Foundation, Inc. CARED Mangatarem, Pangasinan P 5 million
Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation, Inc. SDPFFI Rosales, Pangasinan P 10 million
BMB-G-11-T000002926 October 20, 2011 Countrywide Agri & Rural Economic Development Foundation, Inc. CARED Umingan, Pangasinan P 5 million
BMB-G-11-T000005203 December 21, 2011 People’s Organization for Progress and Development Foundation, Inc. POPDF Umingan, Pangasinan P 5 million
Countrywide Agri & Rural Economic Development Foundation, Inc. CARED Umingan, Pangasinan P 5 million
F-12-00222 March 15, 2012  Agri and Economic Program for Farmers Foundation, Inc. AEPFFI   P 45 million
Kaupdanan para sa Mangunguma Foundation, Inc. KMFI   P 25 million
Agricultura para sa Magbubukid Foundation, Inc. APMFI   P 25 million
Ginintuang Alay sa Magsasaka Foundation, Inc. GAMF   P 5 million
BMB-G-12-T00002491 June 4, 2012  People’s Organization for Progress and Development Foundation, Inc. POPDFI Balungao, Pangasinan P 5 million
Kaupdanan Para sa Mangunguma Foundation, Inc. KMFI Sual, Pangasinan P 10 million
Kaupdanan Para sa Mangunguma Foundation, Inc. KMFI Calasiao, Pangasinan P 10 million
People’s Organization for Progress and Development Foundation, Inc. POPDF Balungao, Pangasinan P 5 million
BMB-G-12-T00002500  June 4, 2012 Countrywide Agri & Rural Economic Development Foundation, Inc. CARED Bulacan, Bulacan P 10 million
People’s Organization for Progress and Development Foundation, Inc. POPDF Pilar, Bataan P 10 million
Countrywide Agri & Rural Economic Development Foundation, Inc. CARED San Antonio, Nueva Ecija P 10 million
BMB-G-12-T00002502  June 4, 2012 Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation, Inc. SDPFFI General Nakar, Quezon P 10 million

At least 5 of the mentioned NGOs – SDPFFI, POPDF, CARED, AEPFFI, APMFI – were revealed as bogus organizations used by Napoles to obtain PDAF funds.

Gregorio ‘Gringo’ Honasan
Vice-presidential candidate, United Nationalist Alliance

The database contains a letter from Honasan dated September 18, 2009, saying he allocated P15 million for various livelihood projects under AEPFFI. The National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC) was identified as the implementing agency of this project.

Honasan’s name also appears in 3 Excel files:

  • a table showing he allocated P40 million to support the “agribusiness projects in agricultural communities” in 8 different municipalities, with DA as implementing agency
  • another table showing he allocated P15 million for a project implemented by NLDC
  • an entry in the 2009 ledger of JLN (short for Janet Lim Napoles) Corporation showing a debit amount worth P1.75 million “FT to JLN Corp-Ortigas-for Gringo Honasan” on October 10

Alan Peter Cayetano
Vice-presidential candidate, Independent

Several Excel files in the database show that Cayetano allocated in 2003 P3 million for communication equipment, with the Department of Transport and Communications (DOTC) as implementing agency.

One file shows that he received a cash advance worth P639,625 in 5 separate instances, and that he returned P500,000 to Napoles.

Also, in the table showing transactions for a Metrobank account for March 26, 2010, an entry “1,670M-Allan-MBFI” appears. Cayetano’s name is spelled as “Allan Peter” in most documents in the Luy files, when the correct spelling should be “Alan”.

Ralph Recto
Senatorial candidate, Liberal Party

Recto’s name appears in 3 undated letters:

  • one addressed to Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio Delos Reyes, wherein he asks for P10 million for farmers in Jabonga, Agusan del Sur
  • another one also addressed to Reyes, wherein he asks for the same amount “for the development of the farm inputs”
  • one addressed to former Department of Agriculture secretary Arthur Yap, wherein he seeks P5 million for “marginal farmers”

Franklin Drilon
Senatorial candidate, Liberal Party

In one record that shows “CA-DA 2005 allocations”, Drilon is listed as having allocated P5 million. News reports have revealed that Drilon received the amount as head of the Commission on Appointments.

There are also two letters that bear Drilon’s name:

  • an undated letter addressed to Yap to grant P10 million “for the provision of agricultural products and fertilizers”
  • a November 22, 2011 letter wherein Drilon asks Budget Secretary Florencio Abad for P100,000 to “cover the implementation of livelihood projects in various local government units in support to agrarian reform farmers beneficiaries nationwide”

Joel Villanueva
Senatorial candidate, Liberal Party

Documents in the database show that Villanueva released the following SAROs on November 9, 2007 to two Napoles NGOs:

  • ROCS-07-08686 – P3 million (for MAMFI)
  • ROCS-07-08686 – P3 million (for PSDFI)
  • ROCS-07-08703 – P1.3 million (for MAMFI)

Various “JLN Cash/Check Disbursement” documents also show that Villanueva received payments for the following projects:

  • P1 million-worth DILG-implemented project
  • P3 million-worth DA-implemented project

There is also a letter dated February 13, 2008 that shows Villanueva informing Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) director general Antonio Ortiz that he was authorizing Merlina Suñas to pick up a certain “certificate of Availability of Funds”. Suñas is a former Napoles employee who has turned state witness.

Vicente Sotto III
Senatorial candidate, Nationalist People’s Coalition

Similar to Marcos, Sotto’s name is in a number of documents in the Luy files, appearing in documents such as SARO releases and bank account statements.

Sotto is referred to in a number of letters that point to SARO releases for NGOs – among them the Napoles dummies:

SARO number Date issued NGO LGU recipient Amount
G-10-07926 November 24, 2010 Agricultura para sa Magbubukid Foundation, Inc APMFI 5 towns in Surigao del Sur P 25 million
Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundation, Inc MAPSMFI   P 25 million
F-11-00900 May 16, 2011 Agricultura para sa Magbubukid Foundation, Inc APMFI   P 20 million
BMB-G-11-T000002924 October 20, 2011 Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation, Inc. SDPFFI Sariaya, Quezon P 15 million
BMB-G-11-T000002925 October 20, 2011 People’s Organization for Progress and Development Foundation, Inc. POPDF Pilar, Bataan P 20 million
BMB-G-11-T000002926 October 20, 2011 Countrywide Agri & Rural Economic Development Foundation, Inc. CARED Umingan, Pangasinan P 5 million
BMB-G-12-T000000756 March 29, 2012 Kaupdanan Para sa Mangunguma Foundation, Inc. KMFI Calasiao, Pangasinan P 5 million
Countrywide Agri & Rural Economic Development Foundation, Inc. CARED Umingan, Pangasinan P 5 million
G-12-00394 May 18, 2012 Kaupdanan Para sa Mangunguma Foundation, Inc. KMFI Balungao, Pangasinan P 5 million
Kaupdanan Para sa Mangunguma Foundation, Inc. KMFI Sual, Pangasinan P 5 million
G-12-T000003522 August 2, 2012 Ginintuang Alay sa Magsasaka Foundation, Inc. GAMF San Quezon, Nueva Ecija P 5 million
Ginintuang Alay sa Magsasaka Foundation, Inc. GAMF San Antonio, Nueva Ecija P 15 million
Ginintuang Alay sa Magsasaka Foundation, Inc. GAMF Bongabon, Nueva Ecija P 5 million
Ginintuang Alay sa Magsasaka Foundation, Inc. GAMF San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija P 5 million

His name also appears in the 2010 bank account details of JLN Corporation.

What happened since?

All denied transacting with Napoles – including LP ally Drilon, who was photographed with Napoles and her husband Jaime in some social gatherings. He admitted meeting the couple several times, but he denied receiving any money from them.

The absence of administration allies in the first set of charges filed prompted critics to accuse the goverment of “selective justice”.  Succeeding cases already involved LP members.

After Luy exposed the names of these lawmakers as appearing in his files, only two have been slapped with charges – Honasan and Villanueva. Both were included in the third batch of charges filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in August 2015 before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Drilon and Sotto are leading in the latest Pulse Asia survey on senatorial candidates, while Villanueva and Recto comprise the top 12.

Luy was also questioned when he admitted during a Senate hearing that he forged some of the signatures in the files. This prompted Marcos to claim that SARO releases under his name were processed without his knowledge.

But Luy revealed that some lawmakers authorized pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles to fake use their signatures in documents to facilitate the fund releases to her fake NGOs.

Marcos, who was clinching runner-up positions in past vice-presidential surveys, has managed to tie with contender Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero for top rank in the latest Pulse Asia survey.

Also during the Senate hearings, Luy apologized to Santiago and took her off the list of implicated lawmakers. This is after she decried as “mudslinging” her inclusion in the list and considered the filing of a disbarment case against Luy’s lawyer Levito Baligod

Baligod later on revealed that it was former senator Panfilo Lacson – who revealed the list to the public – who may have erroneously included her in it. – Rappler.com

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