3 senators in plunder list also in COA report on TRC pork use

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    CLARK FREEPORT – Technology Resource Center (TRC) Director General Dennis Cunanan said here that his agency got some P2.450 billion worth of pork barrel funds of politicians, including former Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo, from 2007 to 2009.

    He said the PDAF included some P80 million from Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla whose funds, he noted, were entrusted to eight non-government organizations of Janet Lim- Napoles, with whom they were charged recently with plunder.

    In a press conference here, Cunanan, who himself was implicated in the pork barrel scam by whistleblower Ben Luy, could not recall how much of Arroyo’s PDAF was channeled through TRC.

    He would not immediately say which NGO was the supposed beneficiary of Arroyo’s PDAF, although he noted that one such NGO based in Guagua, Pampanga got some P500 million of pork funds. Guagua is within the second district that Arroyo used to represent.

    Denying any involvement in PDAF anomalies, Cunanan noted that way back in 2010 when he assumed the top TRC post, he had already officially blacklisted 44 NGO’s, including eight formed by Napoles, after he examined records indicating “questionable transaction” with his agency.

    His move later prompted the Commission on Audit (COA) to conduct a special audit on the PDAF coursed through the TRC. This audit, he said, confirmed the failure of the 44 NGO’s to report on how they used the pork barrel funds.

    Cunanan had been deputy director general of the TRC from 2007 to 2009, with Antonio Ortiz as his boss. He recalled that when he assumed post in 2007, Ortiz issued a circular limiting him to handling funds for projects costing no more than P1 million.

    “In December of the same year, even this power was stripped from me and was transferred to our legislative liaison officer,” he noted.

    Ortiz is also now facing charges fi ed by the Department of Justice in the case related to Napoles. “What happened was that the NGOs approach politicians to find out whether any PDAF is available from them. The politicians then choose which agency they preferred to course the funds through. TRC is included in this menu.

    The NGO’s come to us or any agency of their choice, already with a recommendation of the politicians who authorize SARO (special allotment release order),” he noted.

    As for his being implicated in the case, Cunanan said he went on leave so as to remove any suspicion he would use his post to influence the outcome of the investigation.

    Insisting he had nothing to do with PDAF coursed through the TRC, Cunanan said “records will show that when I was appointed as TRC director general in January, 2010, I immediately directed non-government organizations and people’s organizations which had pending accounts and deficiencies with the TRC to liquidate their accounts and settle their deficiencies.”

    He noted that the COA even expressed appreciation for his move in its Special Audit Report No. 2012-03 Annex D, page 279 released last August.

    Cunanan noted that when he assumed the top TRC post in 2010, before the Napoles pork fund controversy blew up recently, he had issued orders for stringent measures in processing projects covered by PDAF.

    Again on June 21 last year, he again issued a similar memorandum although his agency no longer received any PDAF.

    “I would like to assure the Office of the Ombudsman and the authorities that I have no plans of evading the charges against me as my conscience in clear,” he said.

    He said the funds from the PDAF of the three senators were part of some P2.450 billion were turned over to the TRC in various periods from 2007 to 2009. Cunanan recently cut off his trip to the US in connection with his duties as incoming secretary general of the Junior Chamber International (JCI).

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