P500-M worth of farm resources ‘supplied’ by Napoles’ ‘sari-sari’ store

By , on August 23, 2014

Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles. Photo from Aquino's official Facebook page.
Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles. Photo from Aquino’s official Facebook page.

Another can of worms has been opened in the case of the pork barrel scam. This time, one involving a company with the business address of a small sari-sari store, which was able to supply the government with over P500 million worth of farm resources.

In Fridays’ bail hearing held at the Sandiganbayan Third Division for pork barrel queen Janet Lim-Napoles, Commission on Audit (COA Assistant Commissioner Susan Garcia testified that state audit officials discovered that the office address of Nutrigrowth Inc. was that of a sari-sari (variety) store in Sampaloc, Manila.

Nutrigrowth was one of three companies identified as having supplied farm resources and implements to six foundations tied to Napoles. Reports indicate that Sen. Enrile’s office purportedly endorsed 14 livelihood projects under these foundations, to be funded with monies from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.

Garcia detailed that the address given for the company, 949 Instruccion Street in Sampaloc, turned out to be no more than a small variety store, yet this was supposedly the address used for the P500 million-transaction with the government.

In the course of the direct examination at the bail petition hearing, Garcia said:“Nutrigrowth cannot be found at its given address. What they (COA auditors) were able to find was an existing sari-sari store.”

Pictures of the establishment located at the given address  revealed  not much more than a cardboard sign on which “Ice for Sale was written.”

“There were also tin cans and [glass] bottles,” special state prosecutor Anne Cabelis said, in reference to the items found in the store

Principal whistle-blower Benhur Luy had said in previous statements that Nutrigrowth had been formed by Napoles as a bogus company with the purpose of diverting the lawmakers’ PDAF budgets.