MANILA, Philippines – Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and 5 members of her cabinet are named in the plunder complaint for the misuse of the Malampaya fund.
Natashya Gutierrez reports.
Another plunder case for two of the country’s most notorious women – former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.
The Justice Department files the plunder charges with the Office of the Ombudsman accusing Napoles and her cronies in government agencies of pocketing P900 million pesos from the Malampaya Fund through the Department of Agrarian Reform.
The money meant for farmers affected by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng was diverted to Napoles’ dubious non-governmental organizations.
LEILA DE LIMA
In sum, the DAR Malampaya Fund projects intended to rehabilitate farmer-beneficiary victims of Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng were all ghosts projects with no delivery whatsoever.
A total of 24 individuals face charges from this batch alone.
Aside from Napoles and Arroyo, the list includes former Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, former Budget Secretary and now Congressman Rolando Andaya, Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, and ex Agrarian Reform Chief Nasser Pangandaman.
Other DAR officials include then Director of DAR Finance and Management Service Teresita Panlilio and ex-DAR Usec Narciso Nieto.
The government officials allegedly received hefty kickbacks.
LEILA DE LIMA
As a result of this whole scheme of diverting the P900 million Malampaya Fund allotted to DAR to Napoles NGOs on the basis of manufactured and fake letter-requests from Mayors and MOAs kickbacks or commissions amounting to P337,775,000 were distributed all around to the public officials who participated in the plunder scheme.
The following are the public officials specifically identified by the whistleblowers as having received kickbacks from Napoles, the same being their share for their indispensable participation in the execution of the plunder scheme: Nasser Pangandaman P75 million received in cash from Napoles and through bank withdrawal care of Rene Maglanque, Teresita Panlilio P14 million received in cash from Napoles and through bank withdrawal, Narciso Nieto P6 million received through bank withdrawal care of Evelyn de Leon, Ruby Tuason P242,775 million received through bank withdrawal for a still unidentified principal.
Tuason, the former Social Secretary of former President Joseph Estrada, is also facing charges.
Arroyo and Ermita were not spared and are accused of helping facilitate the release of funds.
LEILA DE LIMA
As to the participation and culpability of former President Arroyo and Exec Sec Ermita the release of the SARO and the NCA would not have been possible if it were not for the hastily issued EO which invalidly liberalized the exploitation of the Malampaya Fund for purposes not contemplated by existing laws, and the latter’s approval of the Request for Authority of Sec Andaya.
The Malampaya Fund can only be used for energy-related projects.
The DOJ complaint says Andaya requested to use Malampaya money for flood victims on Oct. 8, 2009.
Five days later on Oct. 13, Arroyo and Ermita approved the request and issued EO 848 allowing the Malampaya fund to be used for areas affected by natural calamities.
LEILA DE LIMA
This leniency of control displayed by the former President in the use of and access to an essentially presidential discretionary fund made possible the plunder of such fund, either intentionally or through gross inexcusable negligence.
Others facing charges are DAR staff members, Candaba Mayor Rene Maglanque and Napoles’ former employees listed as Presidents of her NGOs for forging signatures and faking liquidation documents.
The list includes her brother Ronald Francis Lim, and her nephew Ronald John Lim.
First lawmakers, now the former president and the government agency officials face charges. The second batch of cases illustrates the massive scope of the scam, and the shocking amounts involved. Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler, Manila. – Rappler.com
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