Cunanan willing to undergo lifestyle check

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

NEW pork barrel scam whistleblower Dennis Cunanan will allow the Department of Justice (DOJ) to check on his wealth to rest any doubts on his claim that he did not benefit from the illegal racket of businesswoman Janet Napoles.

Cunanan, former Technology Resource Center (TRC) director general, said Wednesday he will even sign a waiver on the confidentiality of his bank accounts should the DOJ find it necessary for the lifestyle check.

His statement came after Senator Grace Poe on Monday expressed reservation about his claim that he did not benefit financially from the diversion of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to ghost projects of Napoles' dubious non-government organizations (NGOs).

Still, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said his Witness Protection Program (WPP) coverage will not be revoked if it turns out that Cunanan had indeed received kickbacks.

"Assuming arguendo (for the sake of argument) that Cunanan benefited from the transactions coursed through his office – something he's denying – that fact alone will not disqualify him for provisional WPP coverage, provided he meets the legal requirements, one of which is he does not appear to be the most guilty," she said.

Cunanan, a co-respondent in the PDAF complaints pending before the Office of the Ombudsman, was admitted to the WPP last week after claiming that suspected plunderers Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada lobbied for Napoles NGOs as implementers of their projects.

The three senators rejected Cunanan's accusations.

Cunanan was invited by the Senate Blue Ribbon committee to appear at the next hearing on the pork barrel scam on March 6.

A week before the hearing, Cunanan maintained he had no authority to decide whether or not to enter into and/or approve PDAF-funded projects since he was only deputy director from 2006 to 2009.

He said he only participated in the processing of some of the PDAF projects in an administrative and ministerial capacity as a co-signatory to TRC’s checks and vouchers.

"My office did its very best in carefully and painstakingly scrutinizing all documents presented to us relating to PDAF projects. We did so to the extent of calling the offices of the concerned legislators in order to verify the authority of those who signed the documents as representatives of the legislators, as well as requesting them to put their grant of authority in writing," said Cunanan.

As of July 2010, TRC blacklisted and banned 47 NGOs and a couple of local government units (LGUs) which failed to liquidate their accountabilities and/or settled their deficiencies with the agency, including all the foundations linked to Napoles.

"I believe that this action of the TRC management under my leadership, more than anything else, is enough to dispel any claims, suggestions or suspicion that I directly or indirectly benefited from the PDAF scam," said Cunanan.

Cunanan was promoted to TRC director general in January 2010. (Sunnex)

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