Estrada blasts COA over order to return ‘pork’

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Monday, February 3, 2014

SENATOR Jinggoy Estrada slammed on Monday Commission on Audit (COA) chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan for issuing notices of disallowance to him and three other senators concerning their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Estrada said he will file an appeal with COA but expects a biased decision from Tan.

"First, we'll file an appeal. But knowing COA, the chairperson of COA, it is obvious that he is biased against me; if it (appeal) is denied, we will have to elevate it to the Supreme Court," Estrada said.

Aside from Estrada, notices of disallowance were also sent to Senators Ramon Revilla Jr. and Gringo Honasan, and Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile.

The notices state that the four senators have to return the millions of PDAF, which supposedly went to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) from 2007 to 2009.

Estrada, Revilla, and Enrile are facing plunder complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman over the PDAF scam. Honasan meanwhile was not identified as a respondent but he told to return P14.55 million.

Estrada pointed out that senators are mere "custodian of (the) funds."

"Hindi naman dumaan sa amin ang pera. Ano ang isosoli namin? Habulin nila ang mga implementing agencies...Kami we did it in good faith. Lahat naman ng mga ina-accredit na NGOs, ina-accredit din ng Department of Agriculture," he said.

Bogus NGOs allegedly put up by detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles benefited from the PDAF of senators and congressmen.

Enrile echoed the sentiment of Estrada, saying that he does not consider himself an accountable person.

"Meron ako nung notice pero, wala naman akong tinanggap na pera sa gobyerno. Ano ang isasauli ko?...I will answer them. The only thing that I was issued was a SARO but, I did not even receive the SARO, it was received by other agencies of government," he told reporters. (Sunnex)

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