NBI probes Napoles link to DAP funds

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Monday, July 7, 2014

JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima said Monday the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is currently looking into media reports that alleged pork barrel scam leader Janet Napoles had transactions involving nearly P500 million culled from the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

De Lima said the NBI Special Task Force, which also investigated the alleged misuse of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), already had copies of the special allotment release orders (Saros) that named Napoles' non-government organizations (NGOs) as beneficiaries of DAP funds in 2012.

"We are evaluating and see whether we have cases against those senators, and, if confirmed, then what to do about it. Either we refer our findings to the Ombudsman or we will file the charges there," de Lima said.

Among the senators who allegedly diverted their DAP allocations to Napoles' foundations were Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., who are now detained on plunder and graft cases related to the pork barrel scam.

According the camp of whistleblower Benhur Luy, Napoles got wind of the economic stimulus package as early as October 2011 or at a time when the government was about to announce that it will implement the DAP.

This goes to show that Napoles has deep connections in government, said Luy's lawyer Raji Mendoza.

Mendoza said Napoles initially wanted the DAP funds to be coursed through the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) but the agency begged off because the issue of fake NGOs had already cropped up.

She was advised by the DAR to implement the projects with local government units, an arrangement objected by Napoles since this would mean additional expenses for kickbacks to be given to local officials, Mendoza said.

Napoles eventually found a way to have the funds released to the National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC), one of the four agencies linked to the PDAF anomaly.

The DAP was recently declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC) for using "savings" to augment new budget items which was not previously authorized by Congress and for funding projects and programs outside the Executive department.

The SC also said the "authors, proponents, and implementors" of the DAP can be held liable if proven that there was bad faith in the use of funds. (Sunnex)

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