Aquino orders probe into NCMF 'involvement' pork scam

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Monday, March 24, 2014

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III has ordered an investigation on the alleged involvement of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) in the multibillion peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam, which the Commission on Audit (COA) recently unearthed according to reports.

Aquino, in a interview on Monday, said he already tasked Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr., Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad to come up with a thorough report on the matter as soon as possible.

The NCMF is an agency under the Office of the President that reportedly received P515-million from two senators — named in a newspaper account as Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Gregorio Honasan — and 38 former and incumbent members of the House of Representatives based on COA's findings.

"To be perfectly candid about it, there are so many functions embodied in their (NCMF's) charter, which I reviewed today, and I was not clearly aware or immediately aware that they were a conduit or an implementing agency for various PDAF projects," Aquino told reporters.

He added they are still clarifying with COA whether the report can already be considered a "finding" or just an "observation audit memorandum" in which case the NCMF would have to respond to certain questions first.

"Even before we get their answers, I want to make sure exactly what went to whom, and why was it coursed through the NCMF… So I want to get as thorough knowledge as possible, and I have directed the concerned individuals—specifically the Executive Secretary, the Secretary of Budget and Management, and the Cabinet Secretary—to submit to me a thorough report on this particular issue," Aquino said. (SDR/Sunnex)

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