Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc., one of the bogus non-government organizations allegedly put up by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles to siphon the pork barrel funds of several lawmakers, is now being implicated in the equally controversial fertilizer fund scam.
AP/file
Napoles-owned NGO tagged in fertilizer scam
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - April 23, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc. (MAMFI), one of the bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) allegedly put up by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles to siphon the pork barrel funds of several lawmakers, is now being implicated in the equally controversial fertilizer fund scam.

In a case information sheet filed before the Sandiganbayan on April 17, the Office of the Ombudsman charged MAMFI president and former Napoles property custodian Marina Sula with violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Aside from Sula, named as respondents in the case were six MAMFI incorporators: Theresita Samson, Lorna Ramirez, Renato Ornopia, Cherry Ann Kilapkilap, Amalia Soriano and Luzviminda Castro.

Also named as respondents were former Palawan provincial agricultural officer Rodolfo Guieb and former regional executive director of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Region IV-A Dennis Araullo.

Napoles was not included in the case. 

Based on the charge sheet, Guieb and Araullo procured from MAMFI a total of 3,240 bottles of Fertigrow Liquid Fertilizer in May 2004 allegedly without holding a public bidding required under RA 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

The products were allegedly sold at P1,500 per bottle for a total of P4.860 million.

Ombudsman graft investigation and prosecution officer Rachel Cariaga-Favila said the supply contract was awarded to MAMFI despite the NGO’s lack of accreditation and qualifications to carry out the project.

The ombudsman set the respondents’ bail at P30,000 each.

Sula is among the ombudsman’s witnesses in pork barrel scam cases pending before the Sandiganbayan, in which Napoles and several lawmakers, including former senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile, stand as respondents. 

Sula and the other whistleblowers, including Napoles’ second cousin Benhur Luy, are currently under the Witness Protection Program of the Department of Justice. They enjoy immunity from prosecution but only so far as the pork barrel scam cases are concerned.

In 2004, several local government units purchased fertilizers as part of the implementation of the DA’s Farm Inputs and Farm Implements Program (FIFIP).

The program was originally aimed at extending assistance to poor farmers in the countrysides. Instead, P723 million worth of funds for the program was allegedly used for the 2004 presidential campaign of now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The ombudsman had earlier cleared Arroyo of any involvement in the fertilizer scam. 

Last year, the Sandiganbayan also dismissed the plunder case against the primary accused in the scam, former DA undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante, citing insufficiency of evidence.

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