Yet another Puzzling Agricultural Livelihood Scam
It was in 2012 that the Malampaya Gas Projects’ Fund Scam unraveled based on investigations by the COA. It seems that hundreds of fisherfolks were allegedly named as recipients of P35,781.00 worth of agricultural products in the coastal town of Masantol, Pampanga. Incidentally, this is the home province of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
As expected, the fisherfolks never heard of an agricultural project, let alone receiving a centavo from the fund. What makes the project more suspicious is the fact that the entire coastal town is populated by fisherfolks, with no areas allocated for agricultural means. The supposed address of the facilitating NGO, Kaupdanan Para sa Mangunguma Foundation Inc. (KMFI), turns out to be a simple home of Juanito Castillo, a man promised money in exchange for allowing the foundation to use his address.
The stipulations surrounding the Malampaya funds limited its use to projects relevant to energy but have allowances for those that the president may want to fund. It came as no shock that the scam involved former President Arroyo because funds were diverted to her home province and had needed imprimatur of the President of the Republic to be released.
Janet Lim-Napoles, Queen of Fund Scams?
What’s surprising is that the name of Janet Lim-Napoles has been dragged into the controversy. It seems that the lady has a knack for money-making allegations involving government projects. Merlina Suñas, one of the pork barrel scam whistleblowers, claims that Napoles dipped her hands in the government’s 60% commission in this the multi-billion project. We can only speculate how much of the actual amount passed through her hands and stayed in her bank accounts.
Already charged for her involvement in the pork barrel scam, Napoles will also be formally charged in relation to the Malampaya Fund Scam. The whistleblower detailed how a number of funds were diverted into various NGOs owned by Napoles. These funds included various presidential projects (under President Arroyo), renewable energy projects, and even money for Ondoy and Pepeng victims.
To facilitate the flow of funds, fake letterheads, memos, and signatures were used – something that is all too familiar with the PDAF case as well. These letters were addressed to former Department of Agriculture (DAR) Secretary Nasser Pangandaman. After approval, a check is issued to the fake NGO before the funds are transferred to the accounts of Napoles. Then, fake liquidations were provided by the NGO.
A Lengthy Investigation Involving Big Wig Politicians
The investigation into the pork barrel scam alone could drag for years, with the COA struggling to cope with the work load as bared by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada. It seems that incomplete reports have always been provided by the COA these previous years. If they were to probe deeper, it would seem that they would need a couple more years just to complete the in-depth report.
Even the Malampaya scam isn’t fully understood and investigated – and it has been a year since the probe into that matter.
What makes matters worse is that the nation’s top guns are involved in these 2 scams. Many are questioning whether there would ever be justice against the moneyed and influential perpetrators. However, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima seems to be taking all angles and suspects into consideration. She was quoted to have said that the people should “Expect more people to be charged for their involvement in the pork barrel scam.”