TRC’s Cunanan had blocked funds for Napoles’ 44 NGOs

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    CLARK FREEPORT — Technology Resource Center (TRC) Director-General Dennis Cunanan would appear to be the least guilty, if at all, among whistleblowers in the plunder case facing detained suspect Janet Lim- Napoles, if his past statements here were to be believed.

    Briefi ng “cabalen” media friends here in September last year, Cunanan, a native of Magalang in this province, denied any involvement in the PDAF anomalies, Cunanan noted that when he assumed the top TRC post in 2010, he blacklisted 44 non-government organizations ( NGOs), including eight formed by Napoles, after he examined records indicating “questionable transaction” with his agency.

    He said 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, confi rmed the failure of the 44 NGOs to report on how they used the pork barrel funds.

    Before he became TRC director-general in 2010, Cunanan had been the deputy of Antonio Ortiz from 2007 to 2009. He recalled that when he first joined TRC 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 led by the Department of Justice in the case related to Napoles.

    During that media briefing, Cunanan said TRC got some P2.45-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.

    Cunanan, who himself was implicated in the pork barrel scam by whistleblower Ben Luy, could not recall how much of Arroyo’s PDAF was channelled 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.

    “What happened was that the NGOs approach politicians to fi nd out whether any PDAF is available from them.

    The politicians then ask them to 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 in August last year.

    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. Cunanan is the secretary general of the Junior Chamber International (JCI).

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