Documents link 4 senators to Napoles NGOs
MANILA – Documents obtained by ABS-CBN News showed that Senator Tito Sotto sent a letter on November 2011, asking then-Senate finance committee chairman Franklin Drilon to endorse the release of P100 million worth of livelihood projects for farmers in Catanduanes.
When this was approved, the funds were directed to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
Sotto then allegedly wrote to Budget Secretary Florencio Abad to realign P70 million of the P100 million fund to the National Livelihood Development Center (NLDC).
When the money was transferred, Sotto again requested funds for three more non-government organizations.
These NGOs were allegedly among the bogus foundations set up by Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged brains behind the P10 billion pork barrel scam.
The documents also showed Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla, and Bongbong Marcos did the same.
From the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the money also went to DAR, then to the NLDC and to fake NGOs.
The documents bear the alleged signatures of Sotto, Estrada, Marcos, and Revilla.
DAR Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes on Saturday confirmed receiving the requests.
But he said the special allotment release orders (SARO) did not indicate the names of senators who endorsed the supposed transfer of funds.
He added that DAR did not use the funds and it's up to the DBM to determine where the money went.
“Liliwanagin ko, hindi ginastos ng DAR ‘yan, bandang Enero ng 2012 ay pina-follow up sa akin ng staff ng isang senador, si Pauleen Labayen, nakalimutan ko na kung kaninong senator. Sabi ko kung idadaan dito dapat may bidding. Nung sinabi ko na ibi-bid out, eventually, nung hindi kami pumayag, ang ginawa nila ay pinalipat nila ng ibang ahensya,” he told ANC.
Marcos said his signature in the NLDC endorsement letter was forged.
“The signature of Marcos which appeared in the NLDC endorsement letter dated 16 March 2012 was falsified,” his office said in a statement.
“I have always exerted due diligence to ensure na bawat sentimo ng nakalaan sa mga projects ko ay magagamit sa makabuluhan at kapaki-pakinabang na pryekto para sa taong bayan,” Marcos added.
Estrada, Sotto, and Revilla also said their signatures were falsified.