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The national democratic youth organization, Anakbayan, has weighed in on the coconut levy funds which, instead of going directly to farmers, are feared to be in danger of being used by members of Akbayan Partylist and president Aquino’s other key allies who have direct access to the funds.
In a statement Anakbayan said:
The youth group Anakbayan released today a list of the members of the so-called ‘Akbayan Mafia’ in the National Anti-Poverty Commission, consisting of members of the partylist group in sensitive positions in the government agency, with some being in charge of the distribution of the controversial coco levy funds.
Acting on confidential tips from ‘disgusted’ regular employees of the NAPC, researchers of Anakbayan’s Public Information Department have so far unearthed 9 Akbayan and Akbayan affiliate leaders (see complete list below) among the 149 contractual and part-time employees of the said commission.
One of these leaders is Atty. Rosselyn Jaye dela Cruz, whose official position is “Consultant for Coco Levy and Asset Reform” in the office of NAPC Commissioner Joel Rocamorra. Dela Cruz is a member of Akbayan and Akbayan affiliate NGO (non-government organization) IDEALS Inc.
“This confirms what coconut farmers and peasant groups have been saying all along: Akbayan is out to hijack part of the coco levy fund for their 2013 election campaign and other nefarious purposes” said Vencer Crisostomo, national chairperson of Anakbayan.
“With the track record of corruption of Joel Rocamorra and the rest of the ‘Akbayan Mafia’ in the NAPC’, we cannot blame the farmers for demanding that the coco levy funds be given directly to them, instead of passing through the corrupt hands of President Aquino’s favorite partylist group” he said.
According to Crisostomo, the ‘tipsters’ were inspired after last year’s efforts to disqualify Akbayan from the 2013 partylist race included an exposition in the ‘irregular’ practice of hiring 100 contractual personnel, including 19 ‘consultants’. No less than the Commission on Audit (COA) questioned the expenditure of P27.97 million in salaries for the said employees for 2011. This was the biggest item in the NAPC’s budget for the said year.
“Expending P27.97 million for 100 employees amounts to a monthly salary of P23,308. We wouldn’t be surprised if all 100 of the ‘Akbayan contractuals’ are setting aside a large percentage of their extravagant salaries for Risa Hontiveros’ election war chest” said the youth leader.