LP mayor and Andok’s owner tagged in pork barrel scam

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) has implicated Javier, Leyte Mayor Leonardo “Sandy” Javier in the controversial pork barrel scam for allegedly failing to liquidate P30 million of financial assistance granted from the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) of three senators.

Javier is a member of the ruling Liberal Party of President Benigno Aquino III and the current president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines. He is also the founder of the popular chain of roasted chicken outlet Andok’s.

In an annual audit report released by COA, state auditors noted Javier’s failure to provide relevant documents accounting for P30M funds from PDAF of senators Juan Ponce-Enrile (P20M), Jinggoy Estrada (P5M) and Loren Legarda (P5M) the town received from June to August 2012.

The amount in question were supposedly intended for an agricultural project – organic farming for high-value crops – implemented by Social Development Program for Farmer’s Foundation Inc. (SDPFFI), a non-existent NGO linked to businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles and formerly headed by whistleblower Benhur Luy.

“The validity and propriety of financial assistance granted to Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs)/People’s Organizations (Pos) totaling P30,000,000.00 could not be ascertained due to inadequate documentation contrary to COA Circular No. 2012-001 dated June 14, 2012,” the COA wrote in its report.

The COA also noted other deficiencies on Javier’s part such as failure to submit a detailed list of expenses and disbursements and a performance security bond, as well as utilizing an NGO with no accreditation and technical capability profile.

In a text message to Inquirer, Mayor Javier, who is out of the country, said the amount was properly utilized and the goods were promptly delivered to farmer-beneficiaries. He also insisted the amount was liquidated with previous COA auditors who were replaced later by the commission.

The COA report said it only received a memorandum of agreement and project description from Javier town adding that in such cases, the absence of documentation and monitoring makes the PDAF “endangered” to loss and misuse as it conceals the NGO’s accountability.

In its recommendation, the COA wants Javier to submit a liquidation report and ordered the town officials to monitor and inspect all projects in question.

Bulacan town mayor also implicated

The COA also ordered Mayor Patrck Meneses of Bulacan, Bulacan to liquidate P40 million he received from the PDAF of Senators Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos (P10M), Estrada (P10M), Enrile (P10M) and Legarda (P10M) from 2012 to 2013.

Meneses supposedly received the amount through the NGOs endorsed by the senators to implement various projects which included livelihood, vermicomposting, high value crops and organic farming, a separate COA report said.

These NGOs are the Countrywide Agricultural and Rural Economic Foundation Inc. (Cared); Kaupdanan para sa Mangunguma Foundation Inc. (KMFI); and Health Education Assistance Resettlement Training Services (HEARTS), all linked to Napoles and were found to have no technical capability for such projects.

The COA recommended that the funds be returned and all culpable officials and erring NGOs be charged accordingly.

Meneses has yet to comment on the allegation while the four senators have yet to make an official statement.