Friday, July 19, 2013

Oink, Oink! The Pork Barrel Scam Fast Facts

It seems "scam" is one of Pinoys' fave pastimes with the latest trend now called the Pork Barrel Scam. Allegedly, five senators and 23 House of Representatives are involved in this current fraudulent act. Kaya di po nakapagtataka na hanggang ngayon walang  masyadong alingasngas na inquiry in either chamber. Dati ang bilis nina Enrile at Jinggoy na magpatawag ng inquiry, ngayon "Nganga!". So anyway, dun sa iba sa atin na medyo tinatamad ng busisiin ang isyu dahil nga palagi na lang may scam dito sa atin, here are the bare facts. 

The Priority Development Assistance Fund (more popularly known as pork barrel) Scam. It is the alleged misused of government funds meant to provide aid to farmers in the country. Amount involved is estimated at Php10-B.

The backroom wheeling and dealing occurred in 2006-2011.

Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla, Bongbong Marcos, Jinggoy Estrada, and Gringo Honasan - the five senators named by the whistleblowers.

Enrile: Nobody out-pork barrels me!

Representatives Victor Ortega (La Union), Erwin Chiongbian (Sarangani)  and  Rizalina Lanete (Masbate) - three out of the 23 representatives also named by the whistleblowers. Allegedly, Chiongbian and Lanete earned the most from among the representatives implicated in the scam. Ortega has been the only congressman so far to publicly defend himself against the allegations.  

Janet Lim-Napoles - the central figure in this scam, owner of JLN Group of Companies. She put up fictitious non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as recipients of funds. One of these ghost NGOs is the Masagagang Ani Foundation, which reportedly received a sizable chunk of the pork. Napoles has been implicated in shady dealings prior to this one, prominent of these was  the Fertilizer Scam during the Arroyo Administration.  In 2001, Napoles and her husband, retired Army Maj. Jaime Napoles, were charged by the Ombudsman  (along with some members and officers of the  Navy Marine Corps) for their involvement in the acquisition of substandard Kevlar helmets worth P3.8 million.

Commission on Audit - the agency responsible for the unmasking of the Pork Barrel Scam. CoA has been tracing where the funds went, sending out letters and summons to supposed recipients. CoA found out that some "recipients" were either fictitious or dead while those who are alive said they did not receive any assistance fund and that their signatures were forged.

Department of Agrarian Reform - the agency tasked to distribute the aid to farmers. Yes, the same agency involved in the Fertilizer Scam of 2004-2005.

Benhur Luy and Merlina Sunas - two of the five whistleblowers. Luy was an employee and relative of Napoles. Sunas is also a former employee of JLN. Luy said his former boss used the names of household helpers, drivers, relatives, and employees as heads of the dummy organizations.

Whistleblowers Luy and Sunas: Say "Grease!"
According to the whistleblowers, Napoles allegedly put up about 20 NGOs, then offered lawmakers  huge slice of the worth of projects so she will be awarded the funds. For soft projects, such as the distribution of medicines and fertilizers, lawmakers allegedly pocketed 40-70% of the pork barrel. For hard projects such as those involving infrastructure, the kickback is allegedly 15-25%. She would also give grease money with implementing agencies so that her foundations and NGOs would get the funds and to make sure no one will squeak.

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