Ex-DA chief maintains innocence in ‘pork’ scam

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines -  Amid the multiple charges he is facing before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the pork barrel scam, former Department of Agriculture secretary and now Bohol Rep. Arthur Yap yesterday maintained that he was not involved in the anomaly.

“No matter how many cases they file against me, the facts will not change. I never transacted with any NGO (non-government organization) for legislators’ PDAF (Priority  Development Assistance Fund),” Yap said in a statement.

He said there was nothing irregular when he entered into a memorandum of agreement with NGOs for the release of the PDAF or pork barrel of two former congressmen. He said it was part of his duty as agriculture secretary.

“I only transferred PDAF to another government agency… as allowed under law,” Yap said.

He said the Office of the Ombudsman had earlier cleared him of graft in connection with the anomaly. “The ombudsman has found me innocent in two cases. I wonder why they are suddenly changing their theory,”  Yap said.

On Tuesday, the ombudsman filed the second set of cases against Yap in connection with the alleged misuse of P14.55 million in PDAF of former Nueva Ecija congressman Rodolfo Antonino in 2007. The cases were raffled to the sixth division of the Sandiganbayan yesterday.

Earlier this month, Yap was indicted for the alleged misuse of the PDAF of former Misamis Occidental congresswoman Marina Clarete from 2007 to 2009 amounting to P62.6 million.

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