DAR Secretary Virgilio De Los Reyes disclosed yesterday that an internal investigation was already started as early as last year by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) on the P900-million Malampaya Fund disbursement.
He further said that the initial findings of that investigation were contained in a report submitted by the DAR’s Internal Affairs Service (IAS) to the Commission on Audit (COA) as part of the ongoing investigation on the matter.
"For several months now, the DAR has been furnishing the COA with reports and documents related to the investigation on the Malampaya fund disbursements involving our Department in 2009,” Delos Reyes said.
“Among those submitted to the COA was the report of our Internal Affairs Service, which conducted a preliminary investigation on the Malampaya controversy,” the DAR chief added.
He also said that the DAR will continue to cooperate with and fully support the investigation being conducted by the COA or any other government agency on this controversy.
Delos Reyes said his office had directed the IAS to conduct an investigation on the Malampaya Fund disbursement as early as November 13, 2012, after receiving reports that some of the supposed beneficiaries of the projects denied having received any financial assistance or projects from the Department.
Documents submitted by the COA to the DAR showed that a total of P900 million was disbursed to the Department in 2009.
The COA documents indicated that in Region I alone, a total of P300-million was released supposedly to “cover funding requirement for support services to Agrarian Reform Communities to help them recover from the losses/damages brought about by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.”
The Fund was released through Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) which were allegedly tapped by local government units (LGUs) to distribute “Farm Initiative Production Kits” to farmers and agrarian reform beneficiaries in their respective localities.
The biggest chunk of the Malampaya Fund released in Region I went to Pangasinan, which supposedly received P180 million for Urdaneta City and the towns of Rosales, Natividad, Mapandan, Mangaldan, San Nicolas, Umingan, Balungao, Alcala, Sual, San Quintin Sta. Maria, San Manuel, Tayug, San Jacinto, Asingan and Binmaley.
Other municipalities that also supposedly received P10 million each include Banna, Pagudpud, Bacarra, Paoay, Pasuquin, Solsona, Vintar, Sinait, Marcos and San Nicolas in Ilocos Norte; Bagulin and Tubao in La Union, and Pulilan in Bulacan.
The DAR got wind of possible anomalies in the fund disbursement after the COA, which constituted a team to audit the utilization of the Malampaya Funds on October 12, 2011, discovered that two former town mayors of Ifugao and Kalinga did not receive the agricultural kits supposedly distributed in their areas.
The former mayors—Ramon Tinawi of Hingyon, Ifugao, and now Kalinga Vice Gov. Allen Jesse Mangaoang of Balbalan— wrote the COA auditors, copy furnished the DAR Secretary, denying any knowledge of the project. They both claimed that their signatures were forged in the documents used for the project.
De Los Reyes reiterated that the DAR will complete its separate investigation, and continue to fully cooperate with the COA, on any and all Malampaya Fund disbursements.