By Mortz C. Ortigoza
LINGAYEN – A congressman could not fathom why his name and photo have been published by a broadsheet despite the absence of a Special Allotment Release Order (SARO ) for an allegedly pork barrel scam and not meeting in his lifetime accused multi-billion pesos pork barrel scammer Janet Lim- Napoles.
“At least no SARO (was given to me) when we have to implement the project. And as far as we are concerned I have no dealing with Napoles. I have no projects with Napoles. Somebody has do explain that situation na kasama pangalan ko,” he stressed.
SARO is a document issued by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). It triggers the release of funds for lump-sum items such as the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork.
The release of amounts from the PDAF and other lump-sum funds was classified as “needing clearance” by the DBM, and thus requires approval by the Budget department or the President. Before they can draw amounts from such funds, agencies need to submit a Special Budget Request and supporting documents to the DBM.
The DBM issues a SARO to the implementing agency once the request is approved. The SARO gives the agency the authority to conduct bids or award contracts for goods and services.
He could not understand how his name, that of Governor Amado T. Espino, former congressmen Arthur Celeste and Robert Raymund Estrella, and Representative Conrad Estrella have been listed by whistle blower Benhur Luy and Napoles.
In the May 28 special report of the Inquirer Luy listed 138 congressmen that included Pangasinan congressmen Bataoil and former congressmen Espino and Celeste, while the brothers Estrella have been in the file of Napoles.
He said despite the publication and the criticism that followed after the expose’ by the daily it did not deter him to focus in performing his jobs.
“The thing is there are appropriate agencies looking into this, let them do their job. Basta ang commitment ko sa taong bayan sa aking district I assure you na no ghost projects and no Napoles projects”.
He reiterated that he has no dealing with the accused pork barrel scam artist whose transactions with allegedly colluding members of congress saw Senators Ramon Revilla Jr, and Jose “Jingoy” Estrada detained in jail without bail.