MANILA, Philippines—The Office of the Ombudsman has filed estafa charges with the Sandiganbayan against former Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) Commissioner Alfred Y. Po for running away with money raised by a group of mechanical engineers.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has approved the recommendation of Assistant Special Prosecutor III Karen E. Funelas to indict Po for defrauding members of the Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers (PSME) nearly eight years ago. Funelas has recommended a bail bond of P40,000.
Po, then chair of the Board of Mechanical Engineering (BME), demanded control of the fees amounting to P728,539.59 paid by licensed engineers who took part in the PSME oath-taking ceremonies in November 2005 and May 2006. The fees were traditionally held by the PSME, which had to dip into its own funds to make sure the two oath-taking ceremonies would push through.
The PSME had since sued Po for refusing to remit the funds entrusted to him.
The Ombudsman is tapping Po’s former secretary, Ofelia D. Dichoso, and PSMA collector Eric Agcamaranas as key witnesses against Po.
Po transferred from the BME to the PRC where he was fired by the Ombudsman last May 16 for extortion.