DA chief Alcala denies personally knowing Janet Lim-Napoles

Still denying his department's alleged involvement in the supposed pork barrel scam, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala on Friday said he doesn't personally know Janet Lim-Napoles, the businesswoman at the center of the issue.

“Hindi ko po kilala 'yan. Never ko pong nakilala siya, hindi ko po siya nakilala,” Alcala said in an interview on GMA News TV's “News To Go” when asked if he knew Napoles.

Napoles was accused of being the mastermind of a P10-billion pork barrel scam involving ghost projects allegedly used for kickbacks by lawmakers.

Whistleblower Merlina Suñas earlier said the Department of Agriculture (DA) has been instrumental in the funneling of state funds to dummy organizations — an accusation Alcala ordered investigated.

Alcala said agriculture officials who'll be found guilty of involvement in the anomaly will be facing the full force of the law. “Ang bilin ko kung may tauhan na talagang nadawit o sinadya na palusutan ang ganitong bagay ay dapat na humanda siyang managot sa batas,” he said.

In the same interview, Alcala reiterated that the DA initially refused to take projects funded by lawmakers through their pork barrel, or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), to avoid being dragged into controversies.

“Buhat po noong ako ay ma-appoint from 2010 hanggang July of 2012 wala po ni isang PDAF na dumaan sa kagawaran kasi marami pong sabi-sabi na hindi po tama, hindi maganda ito kaya iniwas ko ang department kasi masyadong marami na pong problema ang department nang abutin ko. So two years po mahigit. That shows na hindi po kami interesado dito,” he said.

However, they changed their policy in 2012 when lawmakers questioned them, Alcala said.

“Napagsabihan kami na paano namin matutulungan ang programs ng agrikultura na padadaanan ng pondo,” he said.

When they allowed PDAF-funded projects, they made sure that safety nets are in place to prevent anomalies.

“Unang-una nagkaroon ng pre-accreditation at individual po ito, may checklist na ibinigay at isa po 'yan sa nakapasa,” said Alcala, referring to Napoles' trading firm JLN.

Alcala also said that to prevent corruption, they released the funds in tranches. He said this is the reason why of the P83.2 million allotted to Napoles' Kaupdanan para sa Mangunguma Foundation Inc (KMFI), only P38.25 million had been released and should now be accounted for.

Napoles allegedly set up 20 non-government organizations (NGOs) to get funds from the government.

“That means kung hindi nila ma-liquidate, hindi po talaga namin ibibigay ('yung ibang pera). Ngayon po na nakita na ito ay questionable, ini-hold na po namin,” he said.

The DA chief also said that they have formed a special group to check if the funds really went to the intended beneficiaries. There was also a committee that will check and double check the reports on their fund releases, if there really was an anomaly.

Alcala earlier replaced DA assistant secretary Ophelia Agawin as interim chair of the NGO accreditation committee, which approves groups that receive funds from lawmakers.

Agawin had earlier denied that she was the conduit to approve bogus foundations to funnel funds into.

Agawin had also been implicated in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam where funds supposedly meant to benefit poor farmers allegedly ended up in former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's campaign kitty. The case against Agawin, however, was junked. — Amita O. Legaspi/KBK, GMA News

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippines accuses China of turning water cannon on its fishing boats

    Filipino activists denounced China's coast guard on Tuesday for turning water cannon on Philippine fishing boats in disputed waters, near where hundreds of Filipino and American Marines landed on a beach in a mock assault.     The presidential palace in Manila said China's coast guard used water cannon on Monday to drive away a group of Filipino fishermen at Scarborough Shoal, damaging some of their wooden boats. Chinese ships rammed a fishing boat in the area a few months back. China in …

  • Pacmania sweeps Philippines ahead of Mayweather clash
    Pacmania sweeps Philippines ahead of Mayweather clash

    Manny Pacquiao's face is on shirts, dolls and postage stamps, his life story is playing in movie houses and millions are getting ready to party as the Philippine boxing hero's "fight of the century" nears. Pacmania is sweeping the Southeast Asian nation of 100 million people ahead of the May 2 Las Vegas bout against unbeaten Floyd Mayweather to decide who is the best boxer of their generation. Of course, it's the fight of the century," Manila film producer Lucky Blanco told AFP. …

  • Ex-Cavite governor gets PCSO top post
    Ex-Cavite governor gets PCSO top post

    After nearly a year, President Aquino finally made good his promise to a long-time ally – former Cavite governor and congressman Erineo Maliksi – to head the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), replacing Margarita Juico who resigned in May 2014. Maliksi must be officially elected by the PCSO board members as their chairman. Prior to his appointment to the PCSO, Maliksi faced graft charges before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the alleged illegal purchase of P2.5 million worth …

  • US, Phl military exercises to focus on sea defense
    US, Phl military exercises to focus on sea defense

    A massive deployment of aircraft, personnel and warships characterizes this year’s Balikatan between the two allies, which war games were launched 30 years ago. Commander Lued Lincuna, Philippine Navy public affairs chief, said the Marine Battalion Landing Team-4 (MBLT-4) will link  up with the US 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force. …

  • P-Noy seeking united Asean stand on China
    P-Noy seeking united Asean stand on China

    With China’s actions threatening to “considerably alter the way of doing business globally,” President Aquino will ask the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to take a united stand against Beijing’s massive reclamation activities and other provocative acts in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea. Aquino will raise the appeal to his ASEAN counterparts when they meet on April 27-28 in Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi in Malaysia. Beijing reacted immediately to the plan, saying the …

  • OIC exec backs BBL, says passage to end extremism
    OIC exec backs BBL, says passage to end extremism

    The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) yesterday backed the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), warning that failure to see the peace process through with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) could open the door to extremism. OIC secretary-general Iyad Bin Amin Madani, who is in the country to rally support for the peace process and the BBL, told reporters at the Senate yesterday that the Philippines should not waste the opportunity to attain lasting peace in Mindanao, especially …

  • Senate plan to probe corruption in judiciary opposed
    Senate plan to probe corruption in judiciary opposed

    The head of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) is opposing the plan of the Senate to investigate alleged “justice for sale” in the judiciary. In an interview yesterday, IBP national president Vicente Joyas contested the pronouncement of Senate President Franklin Drilon that the Senate Blue Ribbon committee can probe the reported corruption in the judiciary, as it remains part of the scope of the Senate’s investigative power. “The plan of the Senate to push through with the …

  • PNP: Floyd camp charging P.2 M for pay-per-view
    PNP: Floyd camp charging P.2 M for pay-per-view

    The camp of Floyd Mayweather is reportedly charging the Philippine National Police P200,000 for a pay-per-view deal of his fight with Manny Pacquiao, a PNP official said yesterday. Director Danilo Constantino, the PNP’s Chief Directorial Staff, said the cost of the pay-per-view for the fight makes it difficult for the PNP to sponsor the free viewing for its personnel and their dependents at Camp Crame’s multi-purpose center. “We are currently negotiating for the pay-per-view and we ever …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options