Chiz: Ex-NABCOR, ZREC officials may be held liable
MANILA – Senator Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero on Friday said the former officials of National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR) and Zamboanga Rubber Estate Corporation (ZREC) may be held liable for funneling the legislators’ pork barrel funds to bogus non-government organizations (NGO) linked to Janet Lim Napoles.
Escudero said that based on Thursday’s Blue Ribbon Committee, it appears the sub-agencies of the Department of Agriculture did not do due diligence when they engaged with chosen NGOs in projects.
He said the government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCC) did not follow the documentary requirements prescribed by the procurement board and the Commission on Audit, which include securing performance bonds and financial statements.
"Maski may pirma ng mga mambabatas, bakit sila natakot, bakit sila nagpa-pressure," said the senator. "Kung trabaho talaga ‘yun, sa opisina dapat gagawin ‘yun."
Former NABCOR President Alan Javellana on Thursday testified that he met with Napoles at least twice in a hotel coffee shop.
Escudero said there is nothing wrong with endorsements per se.
"Hindi naman masamang mag-endorse, pero pruweba ito ng kuntsabahan, pwedeng tanggihan ito ng ahensya," he said.
Escudero emphasized that the senators whose names have been implicated are always welcome to present their side or to attend the pork barrel hearings.
"Bukas ang pintuan ng Senado sa mga pagdinig na mag-appear, sino man ang nababanggit may karapatan sagutin ang mga paratang," he said.
Escudero denied that the President's allies are singling out opposition senators.
"May singling out man o wala, the fact remains na dito papunta ang mga ebidensya, ang minority ipakita nila ebidensya laban sa mayorya," Escudero said. "Papunta kami kung saan itinuturo ng ebidensya, kung may ebidensya ipakita sa amin at ipapakita namin na pantay ang pagtrato sa bawat miyembro."
Escudero admits that the senators themselves and their relationship with each other are affected by the scam.
"Apektado ang institusyon, may friction sa bawat miyembro," he said. "Friction in the sense na ‘yung atmosphere ng trabaho hindi normal."
The question now, said Escudero, is how the Senate will handle itself whatever happens to some of their members who are being implicated in the scam.