Quezon mayors: We got no projects
Town execs angered at their being used in scam linked to Estrada, DAR
By Delfin T. Mallari Jr.
Inquirer Southern Luzon
2013-12-03 23:26:08

ESTRADA. ARNOLD ALMACEN

LUCENA CITY—Town executives of Infanta and General Nakar expressed surprise and anger at reports that their towns had benefited from projects by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) endorsed by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, saying their towns received nothing from the scandal-tainted projects.

“I have all the copies of the documents from the COA (Commission on Audit). All my signatures were forged. I don’t even have my ‘cedula’ (residence certificate) in the contract,” Infanta Vice Mayor Filipina Grace America said on the phone on Monday.

America was the municipal mayor when Infanta supposedly received funding assistance from the DAR in 2011 in projects that Estrada had endorsed.

Estrada is facing plunder charges, along with fellow Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Bong Revilla, for his alleged involvement in the systematic theft of up to P10 billion in public funds through anomalous pork barrel projects that were carried out by a network of bogus nongovernment organizations (NGOs) formed by detained alleged scam artist  Janet Lim-Napoles.

“I’m not aware of any project implemented nor any project delivered in town,” said America, who was also the mayor until the end of her term this year.

“If not for the publication of the scam report, we would not have known Infanta and my name were being dragged into the controversy,” America added.

America said the set of documents that was used to justify the release of funds for the anomalous projects also lacked the required resolution of ratification from the Infanta municipal council.

She also noted that the names of the supposed beneficiaries of the mysterious project in her town were “not natives of Infanta.”

“Not one from Infanta knows those names on the list,” she said.

America recalled that the office of Estrada did not even make a call or send any letter inquiring about the progress of the alleged projects.

General Nakar Mayor Leovigildo Rozul also denied receiving funding assistance from the DAR.

“We know nothing of that supposed funding assistance from the DAR or Senator Estrada,” Rozul said on the phone on Monday.

According to the DAR report, Estrada endorsed in 2011 the release of up to P70 million for 10 towns that was to be used for the agency’s organic farming livelihood projects undertaken by 10 NGOs operated by Napoles, who is now detained on a charge of illegal detention and is also facing plunder charges along with Estrada, Enrile and Revilla.

The Social Development Programs for Farmers Foundation Inc. was listed as the NGO that managed the project in Infanta while the People’s Organization for Progress and Development Foundation Inc. took charge of the project in General Nakar.

Both NGOs are part of the bogus foundations linked to Napoles.

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