Ombudsman orders filing of graft charges vs ex-Maguindanao governor Ampatuan
The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the filing of graft and corruption charges against former Maguindanao Governor Datu Sajid Islam Ampatuan before the Sandiganbayan over P500 million in alleged unliquidated funds.
In a statement on Monday, the Ombudsman said the province, under Ampatuan’s term, entered into several Memoranda of Agreement with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in June 2009 to construct farm-to-market road projects.
However, the funds were not properly liquidated despite DAR’s repeated demands, the statement read.
The Ombudsman also cited findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) stating that the roads “were in bad condition and far shorter than the reported lengths.”
Ampatuan, together with Provincial Treasurer Osmeña Bandila, are accused of violating the Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the statement added.
They were also accused of violating Article 217 of Malversation of Public Funds and Article 218 of Failure of Accountable Officer to Render Account of the Revised Penal Code.
Meanwhile, Provincial Accountant John Estelito Dollosa and State Auditor Danny Calib will also be charged for allegedly “making it appear that the projects were implemented” by issuing a certificate the the amount was disbursed by the province.
COA’s report “belie” that the road projects were indeed implemented, the Ombudsman’s statement read.
Ampatuan was a key suspect in the bloody Maguindanao Massacre in 2009, which killed 58 people, including 32 journalists. /vvp
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