DOST unit chief in pork barrel scam goes on indefinite leave

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Cunanan[/caption] In a report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the main witness in the pork barrel scandal, Benhur Luy, tagged TRC head Dennis L. Cunanan and Antonio Y. Ortiz as the conduits of alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles at the TRC. The TRC, formerly known as TLRC, is an attached unit of the DOST. According to the PDI report, the Commission on Audit (COA) special review of PDAF releases from 2007 to 2009 showed that the TRC handled the biggest pork funds audited during the period at P2.613 billion. Malacanang has earlier said it would abolish government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) that were involved in the multi-billion scam. One of these GOCCs is the TRC. In a press statement, Cunanan said he filed the leave of absence in order to clear his name and not to disrupt the operations of the agency. ?I am confident that ultimately my name will be cleared as my actions on this issue will bear me out. That being one of my first official actions upon assuming the helm in TRC is to look into the PDAF disbursements,? said Cunanan. Cunanan said that since 2010, the TRC has ceased to implement PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) projects and long before Janet Lim-Napoles made the headlines, the TRC has started its own investigation on the NGO?s that failed to properly liquidate their PDAF funds. The PDAF is also known as pork barrel fund. As early as May 2010, the COA, with full cooperation from TRC, has started the audit of the PDAF that was coursed through the center from 2007-2009. The TRC chief said he has appeared before the National Bureau of Investigation Special Task Force and would welcome and cooperate with all other investigations. In July of 2010, the TRC under Cunanan blacklisted 44 non-government organizations (NGOs) which failed to properly liquidate their PDAF funds, 8 of which are now reported in media as identified with the JLN Group. The agency stipulated in a memorandum dated July 16, 2010 that it will not enter into any agreements with them as regards the implementation of livelihood projects until such time that they submit their liquidations and the deficiencies noted in various COA audit observations are resolved. Cunanan also said he issued an office circular adopting stricter eligibility requirements, accreditation rules, and monitoring procedures for NGOs wanting to engage the services of the agency. The measures are being implemented by a Review and Accreditation Committee, a member of which is a personnel of the resident COA office. Under Cunanan?s administration, the TRC said it has realigned its mission and retrained its focus back to its mandate, which is the sourcing and utilization of technology for the two-fold purpose of commercialization and information dissemination. Being first in the government rationalization program in 2005, it has streamlined its personnel from 699 to 161 mandated, the agency said. In its capacity as DOST?s arm for technology roll-out, the TRC said it has concentrated on commercialization of technologies such as the Technology Business Incubation Centers.]]>

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