Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The EYES Have It

My barber asked for an update on the Pork Barrel Scam.

It is now in the hands of the Ombudsman.  Based on the findings of the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) and the DOJ (Department of Justice), the crimes of plunder, malversation, bribery, and other graft and corrupt practices were committed by several lawmakers led by Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla, Jr., and Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada.
The crimes were allegedly committed when the said lawmakers “received from Napoles kickbacks amounting to 40-60% of the cash value of the project cost for every project endorsed by the lawmaker to a Napoles NGO. These kickbacks are the lawmaker’s bribe for giving undue favor to a Napoles scheme designed to misuse and misappropriate public funds entrusted to him, and which he appropriates instead for private gain rather than the public benefit intended by law.”

The NBI and DOJ claim that the “acts constituting the offenses were performed willfully, deliberately, and maliciously with the legislators knowing fully well that their act of receiving the large amounts of cash from Napoles for their private use resulted in the corresponding diminution of the funds actually expended for the public purpose intended by law.

Enrile, Revilla, Estrada and other lawmakers allegedly took advantage of and abused their official position and authority as Senators and Congressmen of the Republic, thereby unjustly enriching themselves at the expense and to the damage and prejudice of the people and the Republic.

There are 17 boxes of testimonial, documentary and other material evidence supporting the allegations of the NBI, DOJ, and the whistleblowers.  The Ombudsman will go over them and then conduct a preliminary investigation to decide whether to file the appropriate charges in court (Sandigan).

Napoles OS

As I gathered from the Executive Summary released by the NBI and DOJ, the OS (Operating Scheme) utilized by Napoles and the lawmakers went like this:

1.         Napoles and lawmaker agree:          
            (a) Lawmaker promises to designate Napoles’ NGOs as the recipients of his PDAF.
            (b) Napoles promises to give 40-60% of the cash value of the project as kickback.
2.         Lawmaker first submits a list of projects to the DBM.
3.         DBM issues a SARO (Special Allotment Release Order) to the lawmaker.
4.         Lawmaker endorses a selected NGO for the implementation agency.
5.         Implementing agency, without any public bidding, enters into an MOA (Memorandum of                           Agreement) with the NGO for the   implementation of the project.
6.         Documentation is drawn up and completed.
7.         DBM issues a Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) to the implementing agency.
8.         Implementing agency receives NCA.
9.         Implementing agency issues a check to the Napoles NGO.
10.       JLN (Napoles NGO) employees deposit check.
11.       Cash withdrawn by employees.
12.       Cash delivered to Napoles.

Kickback Payments

  1. First payment (50%) in advance to the lawmaker upon submission of the project list to DBM. (See No. 2, Napoles OS)
  2. Second payment (50%) upon release of the SARO. (See No.3, Napoles)
  3. Chief-of-Staff of lawmaker or his representative who facilitates documents and follow ups with agencies for the lawmaker and Napoles gets 1-5% of the project cost
  4. Head of implementing agency gets 10%.
  5. Rest is pocketed by Napoles after deducting the cost of overpriced supplies such as agricultural kits and training materials procured from a supplier enterprise, which is owned by her, or the full remaining amount if there is no delivery.

The Napoles NGOs – What is WRONG?

  1. Incorporated through employees and other individuals associated with her such as relatives, house helps and drivers.  NGOs have interlocking incorporators, common auditors, and notaries public in their SEC documents.
  2. NGOs awarded by implementing agencies as endorsed by the lawmakers without corresponding appropriation law or public bidding – violation of government procurement rules.
  3. NGOs are not qualified to bid for government projects costing millions of pesos.
  4. MOA entered into by implementing agency and NGO deliberately disregards provisions on control and management of funds and monitoring of implementation that only proved convenient to the parties insofar as transparency and accountability are concerned.                                               
The EYES Have It

On the Napoles-Lawmaker Operating Scheme (OS), the following comments were gathered at the barbershop:

Barber No. 1 – “Both Napoles and the lawmakers kept their EYES on the prize (PORK).”
Barber No. 2 -  “This is why Napoles and the lawmakers saw EYE to EYE.”
Barber No. 3 -  “Napoles had her EYE on the PDAF while the lawmakers set their EYES on the                                            kickbacks.”
Barber No. 4 -  “Napoles and the lawmakers turned a blind EYE to the poor who are supposed to be the                            beneficiary.”
Barber No. 5 -  “Lawmakers had stars in their EYES when they received the first payment.”
Barber No. 6 -  “Napoles became the apple of the lawmakers’ EYES.”
Barber No. 7 -  “Lawmaker and/or staff only had EYES on the SARO because lawmaker receives second                            payment upon SARO’s release.”
Barber No. 8 -  “EYES pop out when final payment is received.”
Barber No. 9 -   “All EYES are open when Napoles’ NGO receives check from implementing agency.”
Barber No. 10 -  “Head of implementing agency gets 10% share for keeping an EYE on the project                                        funding.”
Barber No. 11 -  “JLN employees can’t believe their EYES depositing, withdrawing and delivering so                                 much cash.”

The above-mentioned cases filed by the NBI and DOJ compose the first batch of plunder, malversation, bribery, and other graft charges.  According to DOJ Secretary de Lima, more are coming not only based on the Napoles pork barrel scam but also on the findings of the Malampaya Fund.

The COA also has yet to investigate and release its findings on more than 70 other NGOs who were also used as illicit conduits to plunder the people’s money.  Of course, so far, we have been talking only of 2007-2009 PDAF misuse.  What about the misuse of the pork barrel of our lawmakers for the years 2012 to 2013?
Then, how about COA’s findings on the use of the Social Fund, Special Purpose Fund like the PAGCOR Fund, and the PCSO Fund?
In the words of former SC Chief Justice Reynato Puno, “The totality of these Social and Special Purpose Funds runs to trillions of pesos, hence, in comparison, the P10B we lost in the Napoles NGO’s will appear to be just petty cash.”
Filipinos should never “take their EYES off” this issue.  It should always be “in the public EYE.”

1 comment:

  1. Filipinos not only should have their eyes on this issue, but also their ears, and Keep their "ills" burning, henceforth, until the perpetrators are found guilty, incarcerated or, at least, eliminated from the public service, including their "species".I just hope and pray that ther'll be no more 'drastic' moves to cleanse the government of these "kurakots", now that they already "NA-BUKING".