Sidebar 2, Part 3

What they told COA

WHEN it conducted its special audit on the disbursement of pork in 2007-2009, part of the methodology that the Commission on Audit (COA) employed was to confirm the authenticity of documents from the concerned parties – the legislators who endorsed the projects, the suppliers and beneficiaries, and the regulatory offices. This was COA’s way of discerning the validity of the reported transactions.

Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio Arroyo had passed away before COA could reach him for confirmation of his signatures. But COA had little luck in getting a proper response from many of his former colleagues who were still very much around.

Negros Occidental Rep. Julio Ledesma IV was asked about three projects of National Agribusiness Corp. (NABCOR) that were contracted out to the Kaisa’t Kaagapay Mo Foundation, Inc. (KKMFI). He did not comment on the documents concerning two projects. As for the third, he “categorically, expressly and unequivocally declared that the signatures appearing in the documents submitted by the NGO were either electronically affixed or outright forged.” These documents included an endorsement letter he had supposedly made, a project proposal, a Memorandum of Agreement, and a Certificate of Acceptance that all bore his supposed signature.

  • Bulacan Rep. Arturo Robes did not reply to the request of a team of COA auditors for him to confirm his signatures appearing in project documents. Later, however, the team members received a letter from the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory informing them that Robes had sought their assistance to verify the authenticity of his signatures on all the documents.
  • Albay Rep. Al Francis Bichara neither confirmed nor denied as his the signatures on the documents submitted by the NGO and which the COA had gathered.
  • Bohol Roberto Cajes, asked about the NABCOR projects that were contracted out to Kapuso’t Kapamilya Foundation, Inc. (KapKFI), told COA that the signatures appearing on the project documents were unfamiliar to him and that he thus he needed to verify them from original documents in his files.
  • Rizal Michael John Duavit did not reply to COA’s request for verification of his signatures.
  • Former congressman and now Bohol Gov. Edgardo Chatto confirmed his signature in the documents covering projects of the Technology Resource Center that were contracted out to KapKFI. Chatto confirmed his signature in a letter to former TRC head Antonio Ortiz “interposing no objection for KapKFI to implement the project.” Chatto, however, denied that he had signed the MOA and Work and Financial Program for the same projects.
  • Former Pasig Rep. Robert Jaworski Jr. confirmed to COA his signature, “but cannot give further comment on the matter.”
  • Bulacan Rep. Pedro Pancho confirmed his signature in all the project documents shown him.
  • Former Representatives Roque Ablan Jr. of Ilocos Norte and Eladio Jala of Bohol did not reply to COA’s request for confirmation. – PCIJ, August 2015