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‘Gang’within DBM bared

 

New evidence in the “pork barrel” scam pointed to the existence of a syndicate operating within the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), with the group counting a former Speaker of the House of Representatives among its victims.

A select group of reporters covering the House of Representatives received from a source several documents showing that former House Speaker Arnulfo R. Fuentebella’s Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) for P5 million of his share of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) has been covered with a notice of cash allocation (NCA) weeks after the SARO has expired.

Among the documents is a copy of Fuentebella’s SARO assigned the number BMB-G-11-T00000377 issued on April 27, 2011 and supposedly intended for financial assistance for the implementation of a livelihood project involving organic farming for high-value crops for micro-entrepreneur and small farmers from the fourth district in Camarines Sur.

The SARO indicated that the amount to be released will only be valid “for obligation until December 31, 2012.” Another document indicated that an NCA was released for the SARO on January 13, two weeks after the SARO has expired.

“If a SARO has expired, the lawmaker to which the SARO was issued should obligate the DBM, which in turn would issue an extension,” said the highly reliable source.

“But in this case, it is obvious Congressman Fuentebella did not obligate the DBM because was not notified a SARO was issued to him. So, if he was not aware of what was happening, then how would he take any step to obligate the DBM to issue an extension for his SARO?” he told reporters. (Ben R. Rosario)

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