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Five senators and 23 members of the House of Representatives reportedly gave parts of their Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF), amounting to P10 billion, to ghost projects run by fake nongovernment organizations (NGOs). These bogus NGOs were said to be part of a scam hatched by Janet Lim-Napoles, the president and chief executive officer of the trading firm JLN Corp.
Inquirer.net reports that Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. had given the largest contributions, allowing the dummy NGOs access to his PDAF, commonly known as pork barrel, 22 times. He was followed by Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, who gave 21 times; Jinggoy Estrada, who gave 18 times; Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who gave four times; and Gringo Honasan, who gave once.
Among the representatives involved are Rizalina Seachon-Lanete, who allowed her pork barrel to be used 13 times; Conrado Estrella III and Rodolfo Plaza, who gave nine times; and Samuel Dangwa, who gave eight times.
The senators involved have yet to issue official statements regarding the issues against them, but Estrada, Enrile, and Revilla have denied knowing that the NGOs in question were bogus groups. Estrada has also called for an investigation to see who could have benefitted from the scam.
Each senator is given an annual PDAF budget of P200 million, while congressmen receive P70 million. According to the law, it is up to politicians to decide how they will dispose of their PDAF.
Aside from the dummy NGOs, the documents that The Inquirer was able to attain indicate that 30 local government units were also recipients of the legislators’ pork barrel, but a number of them did not receive the funds supposedly allocated for them.
According to Benhur Luy, the primary whistle-blower, Napoles reportedly used the illegally acquired funds to purchase several expensive houses, lots, and condominium units, as well as 16 luxurious vehicles.
(Photo courtesy of PEP.ph)