MANILA – The Commission on Audit (COA) revealed another pork barrel scam involving 49 lawmakers who allegedly squandered P670 million funds to 21 questionable foundations and nongovernment organizations not affiliated to Janet Lim-Napoles.
Malacañang stated that they will go after the lawmakers, despite some being allies of President Benigno Aquino III. But before doing so, they want the COA to verify that the lawmakers really did misappropriated the funds supposedly meant for the benefit and culture preservation of Muslim Filipinos.
“The government is unfazed in its resolve to go against the misuse of public funds. We have to know the truth and identify those who violated the law and make them accountable,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.
The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) was the supposed beneficiary of the P670 million squandered funds but these were transferred to dubious foundations and nongovernment organizations instead.
The senators and representatives themselves chose the various foundations and nongovernment organizations that became receivers of the released funds.
Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Gregorio Honasan II and Representatives Daryl Grace Abayon, Salvador Cabaluna III, Fatimah Aliah Dimaporo, Michael Angelo Rivera and Nur-ana Sahidulla were among the tagged lawmakers who released funds to the said foundations and nongovernment organizations.
Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima announced that she would file the third batch of cases against Napoles. She also dismissed reports that she was hastening cases in the Department of Justice (DOJ) to prepare for her campaign as she planned to run for senator in the May 2016 elections.
“I know that many are already criticizing me with respect to that, and I take this opportunity to clarify that I was not saying that it’s no longer a priority. It still remains to be a priority, only that we still have many other priorities,” she said.