Another co-respondent in the PDAF cases has turned state witness

21 February 2014

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has officially announced today that DENNIS LACSON CUNANAN, a respondent in the two (2) batches of PDAF cases now lodged before the Office of the  Ombudsman, has applied for and was granted provisional coverage as a state witness under the Witness Protection Program (WPP) administered by the DOJ.

CUNANAN served as the Deputy Director General of the Technology Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC), now the Technology Resource Center (TRC), from 2004 until January 2010 when he was appointed as Director General vice former Director General Antonio Y. Ortiz, also a respondent in the PDAF cases.

TRC is one of four (4) implementing agencies (IAs) implicated in the FDAF scam since it was to these IAs that certain Napoles NGOs were endorsed by the lawmakers as implementors of alleged projects and thus served as conduits of the funds.  Memoranda of Agreement are also executed between the IAs, the NGOs and the lawmakers concerned. Aside from TRC, the other IAs implicated are: National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR), National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC) and ZNAC Rubber Estate Corporation (ZREC).

CUNANAN proferred testimony,  contained in a 36-paged Sworn Statement, flatly debunks or belies the claims of Senators Enrile, Estrada and Revilla that:

a. They were not the ones who selected the NGOs which implemented the  projects funded by their PDAFs; and

b. Their signatures or those of their staffs/authorized representatives were forged or that they are not aware of the dealings between the Napoles NGOs and TRC.

CUNANAN painstakingly cited and discussed the contents of various documents (namely, letters of endorsement, SAROs, MOAs, Project Summaries and Project Proposals) which had come into TRC's possession showing that the 3 Senators indeed endorsed certain Napoles NGOs as implementors of the projects under TRC and that these NGOs were actually "identified" and "embedded" as the "project implementor". And, in the uniformly or similarly worded MOAs executed between the offices of the Senators concerned, the TRC and the Napoles NGO concerned, there is an acknowledgment that the Senator has endorsed the NGO as implementor of the projects and an express  WARRANTY by the Senator that the selected NGO is "a legitimate and bona fide entity with good standing".

CUNANAN also narrated the pressures exerted by these Senators upon him, and the lobbying made by Congressmen in TRC, to  expedite the release of funds to their selected NGOs as project implementers. He recalled instances of phone calls from the offices of the 3 Senators and talking either to their chiefs of staff as designated representatives or the Senators themselves, namely, Senators Revilla and Estrada, admonishing him (CUNANAN) about the need to expedite the fund releases to the NGOs.

Like in the case of Ruby Tuason, CUNANAN has submitted to, and subscribed his Sworn Statement before, the Office of the Ombudsman. And also as in the case of Ruby Tuason, CUNANAN's WPP coverage and status as a state witness is merely provisional, subject to further evaluation and approval by the Ombudsman. 

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