Sep 052013
KIDAPAWAN CITY — A poor grass cutter in a far-flung Magpet town in Cotabato province got the surprise of his life when he received a summon from the National Bureau of Investigation for his alleged participation in the P10-Billion pork barrel scam.

Efren Sideno, a job-order employee whose work includes cutting grass for the municipal government, was included as one of the incorporators of “Sagana ang Buhay sa Atin Foundation,” a Metro Manila-base NGO operated by Janet Lim-Napoles.

Napoles, a Filipino-born Chinese businesswoman, is believed to have masterminded the multi-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund scam .

Sideno said he received the NBI summon on September 4, ordering him to report to the Metro Manila headquarters to file his counter affidavit.

Scared and having no money for the trip to Manila, he sought the help of Magpet vice-mayor Efren Piñol who helped him meet some NBI people in Davao City.

Crying,  Sideno told media he has no idea why his name was implicated in the scam.

But he recalled an incident that might have made led to his “connections” with Napoles.

He said that three years ago, Lilian Español, his sister-in-law who is a native of Magpet town and was working as househelp of the Napoleses in Manila, called him up and asked him his complete name, birthday, and other personal data.

When he asked what it was all about, Español told him that Napoles was contemplating on taking him as one of her workers.

“But that did not happen. I was not given a job. I was not also given money. I was not also told about the NGO where I was supposed to be one of incorporators,” Sideno said.

“It was only when I received the summon from the NBI that I knew I was involved in the scam,” he added.

Sideno’s last recollection with Español was last July when she arrived in their hometown to attend a birthday party of one of their relatives.

Residents of Magpet told media that whenever Español would return home, “it was like a fiesta,” referring to Nopoles household heper’s extravagant spending by the town’s standards.

Sideno said he is willing to testify in court to clear his name.

But the problem he said is his lack of funds for the trip to Manila for his testimony.   Malu Cadelina Manar /LBG, GMA News

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