MALAMPAYA FUND SCAM: Rosales farmers angry at being used

August 17, 2013 at 8:13 pm Leave a comment

By Yolanda Sotelo

ROSALES – Emilio Ordinanario, 58, could not hide his anger when he related the day he received a letter from the Commission on Audit, asking him if he received farm implements and seeds from Ginintuang Alay sa Magsasaka Funds (GAMF).
Ordinario, a farmer-tenant from Carmay West village , lost his palay and vegetable crops to the floods at the height of typhoon Pepeng in October 2009. The COA letter which he received sometime in 2012, told him the two packages from the GAMF were delivered to him on November 2009.
“We are just poor farmers. We lost our crops to floods and we had to take out loans so we can replant. Then it turned out our names were used by unscrupulous persons to access millions of funds,” Ordinario told the Inquirer in Filipino.
He showed PhilHealth cards and community tax certificates to prove that the signature in the GAMF documents were faked. The list of names showed the residents of this town who supposedly received more than P80,000 worth of farm tools and vegetable seeds. The “packages” were in two batches worth P43,354 each, but delivered at the same time.
A COA report showed part of the list of names of “beneficiaries” of the P10 million peso Malampaya funds “given” to this town which was one of the hardest hit by typhoon Pepeng.
Of the beneficiaries, two have died long before the supposed date the fund was given to the town, one is a “big businessman” another a school supervisor and yet another, a family driver, former Mayor Ricardo Revita said.
Revita was the town mayor in 2009.
Another farmer, Benjamin Lumbang, 58, also was “shocked and angry” when he received the COA letter.
“I lost my crops and even a daughter to the floods in October 2009. Then we found out our names were used and our signatures were faked so some people can make millions of money,” he said.
The two farmers were among the 20 or so residents of this town who were investigated by the National Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday, to verify if they received farm packages from Malampaya funds.
“We do not know what is Malampaya, we did not see nor sign any documents,” Lumbang said.
The two said their relatives and neighbors ribbed them about the “packages,” telling them “hindi man lang kayo nag blow out.”
“If I received anything, I should just have sold them and bought a cow. It would have been big now,” Ordinario said.
An inspection and acceptance report showed hand tools were delivered and accepted by the farmers, consisting of trowel, rake, spading fork, sprayer, globes, cap, vest, carton, mask, garden tools, carborandum and vegetable seeds.
Revita said he also received a letter from the COA’s Special Audits Office on May 11, 2012, saying 229 agricultural pangkabuhayan packages were turned over to the town as evidenced by certificate of acceptance.
The COA asked Revita on the manner or criteria for selecting the program beneficiaries indicating the complete address, number of kits received and the number of hectares they till.
The COA included a supposed letter of Revita requesting then Agrarian Secretary Datu Nasser Pangandaman for calamity funds in the amount of P10 million pesos for the town affected by typhoon Pepeng, and “strongly endorsed” the GAMF to assist and facilitate the project.
“But all the letters were faked, my signatures were faked,” he said.
In his letter to the COA, he said the documents “came to me as a surprise because all the documents sent to me and the signatures were forged to include the memorandum of agreement, the delivery report and certificate of acceptance.”
“Moreover, I have not heard also of this program which incapacitates me to answer your questions,” he said.
Revita said he was “seriously interested” to know the parties “behind the scam.”
Rosales is the first town where the National Bureau of Investigation came to investigate the matter, after Revita complained to the agency. But the NBI is also going to the other towns, or subpoena the concerned mayors,

Entry filed under: News.

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