Villars linked to 'pork' scam

Villars linked to 'pork' scam
Former Sen. Manuel Villar and Sen. Cynthia Villar

The Department of Justice and the Office of the Ombudsman should investigate, and file criminal charges against, several allies of President Benigno Aquino III who were also allegedly involved in the pork barrel scam but were not included in the first batch of the cases filed by the government.

The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) said that Sen. Cynthia Villar, her husband, former Sen. Manuel Villar, and Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas should also be investigated.

In a six-page letter signed by BMP president Leody de Guzman and received by the DOJ on Nov. 20, the labour group claimed the Villars used their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel, on P151 million worth of projects that did not comply with the procurement law, while Tupas coursed P108 million of his PDAF to ghost projects of nongovernment organisations allegedly headed by a Godofredo Roque.

COA report

The BMP cited the Commission on Audit report from 2007 to 2009 that said that then Sen. Manny Villar and then Rep. Cynthia Villar were allotted P200 million in PDAF, for which they released a total of P168 million or more than 75 per cent to fund soft projects in Las Piñas City.

The COA, according to the BMP, declared as illegal P151 million or 89.9 per cent of the disbursements to the Villars' soft projects. The COA also noted that the questionable soft projects of the Villars did not comply with the requirements of Republic Act No. 9184 or the 2003 Government Procurement Reform Act.

RA 9184 provides for the creation of an electronic database-the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (Philgeps)-requiring the registration of companies wishing to enter into government supply contracts. The registry would be used by all government agencies and firms to check suppliers' track records and to blacklist those who do not comply with their obligations or are otherwise found wanting in their obligations.

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