Slain whistleblower’s daughter: ‘Pork is mother of other fund scams’

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MANILA, August 28, 2013—Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos are hopping mad over Janet Napoles’ alleged loot of P10 billion in pork barrel funds, but apparently, it is just one head of the hydra of deep-seated corruption in government, according to the daughter of slain Malampaya fund scam whistleblower Gerry Ortega. 

“This PDAF, the SPF, the Malampaya [fund] all of these are connected. [If not] where does all the money they give away come from?” said Mika Ortega, the eldest daughter of broadcaster Gerry Ortega, who was allegedly shot dead in 2011 because of his exposés about the Malampaya fund scam. 

Fund scams, all but forgotten 

Ortega went on to enumerate other well-publicized fund scams in recent years like the ?728 million fertilizer fund scam in 2005 and the P3.9 billion Malampaya fund scam in 2011, which had not only cost the whistleblowers their lives, but remain unresolved to date.

“We never get justice, [the cases] don’t get solved. We just know about them, we talk about them and discuss them. We just know that there are fund scams, we know that big amounts of money are involved. But that’s all we do,” she said, mentioning how Marlene Garcia-Esperat, the primary informant of the fertilizer fund scam, was murdered also allegedly because of her disclosures. 

Despite not being as bloody as the other exposés, Ortega added, the pork barrel scam is as deplorable as the others.

“Though [in the pork barrel scam], there is no symbolic death, every time you steal in a poor country you are killing people, you are. You are killing people every time you put your BMW before everyone else,” she said. 

Continuing her father’s crusade 

Having joined the hundreds of thousands who expressed indignation over the pork barrel system in Luneta on Monday, Ortega said she personally commits to vigilance on the issue, as well as being vocal about it. 

“We will definitely lend our voice [to the issue], we will lend our time,” she added. 

Aside from this, she said, the pork issue reveals the need to continue her father’s crusade to put a stop to the Malampaya fund scam. 

The Department of Justice is currently investigating the allegation that P900 million of the Malampaya gas funds were allegedly diverted by Napoles to one of her bogus non government organizations (NGO), which were supposed to be released to local government units (LGU) gravely affected by the typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” in 2009. 

Up to the present, Palawan ex-Gov. Joel Reyes and Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, primary suspects in her father’s murder remain at large, making a trial in absentia impossible. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]

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