By Cielito Reganit
MANILA, 29Aug2013 (PNA) – Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala Thursday admitted to the House Appropriations Committee that six congressmen have earmarked about P83 million in Priority Development Assistance Funds for projects implemented by his department through a non-government organization allegedly set up by Janet Lim-Napoles.
Alcala said that based on their internal investigations, the list includes Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, the current chair of the powerful House panel, Camarines Sur Rep. Arnulfo Fuentabella, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, Masbate Rep. Scott Davies Lanete and An-Waray Partylist Rep. Neil Benedict Montejo.
The sixth lawmaker was not named because Acala said pertinent records were not with him during his agency’s budget hearing.
According to DA records, the DA chief said the six lawmakers have earmarked a total of P83.2 million in PDAF to the Kaupdanan para sa Mangunguma Foundation Inc., allegedly a bogus NGO of Napoles, of which P44 million have already been released.
However, he stressed in an interview with reporters that the allocations did not in any way show any involvement of the lawmakers in the P10 billion PDAF scam allegedly perpetrated by Napoles.
In fact, Alcala immediately cleared Ungab saying all DA-implemented projects using his (Ungab’s) PDAF were fully implemented and properly liquidated.
He likewise added that “majority of the agricultural projects identified by the abovementioned lawmakers were fully implemented and validated.”
“There is still no proof, so they are still innocent,” he stressed.
In the meantime, Alcala said the DA is in the process of concluding its investigations on the issue.
“We are just completing the reports and the results will be released early next week,” he said. (PNA)