Former solons indicted for plunder, malversation over Napoles ‘pork’ scam
MANILA, Philippines — Four former representatives who were part of the first batch of the pork barrel scam complaint have been indicted for plunder and malversation by the Office of the Ombudsman.
In a statement on Friday, the Ombudsman said it found probable cause to charge former Masbate Representative Rizalina Seachon-Lañete, Benguet Representative Samuel Dangwa, Agusan Del Sur Representative Rodolfo Plaza and Cagayan De Oro Representative Constantino Jaraula for allegedly misusing their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) worth P244.29 million.
This means the Ombudsman is set to file a plunder charge against Lañete, who is now Masbate governor, and malversation raps against Plaza, Dangwa, and Jaraula before the Sandiganbayan.
According to the Ombudsman, Lañete allegedly pocketed P108.4 million from her PDAF from 2007 to 2009.
The others also purportedly earned the following kickbacks from their pork barrel-funded projects: Plaza (P42.1 million), Dangwa (P26.77 million) and Jaraula (P20.84 million).
The Ombudsman said their investigation showed that the representatives coursed their pork barrel funds to bogus nongovernment organizations linked to accused mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, only to be spent on ghost projects for kickbacks.
Also indicted as co-accused were the following agency officials: Technology Resource Center (TRC) Director General Antonio Ortiz, Deputy Director General Dennis Cunanan, Department Manager Francisco Figura and Chief Accountant Marivic Jover; National Agri-Business Corporation (Nabcor) President Alan Javellana, Paralegal Victor Roman Cacal, General Services Unit Head Romulo Relevo, Bookkeeper Maria Ninez Guañizo, Chief Accountant Ma. Julie Villaralvo-Johnson, and Director for Financial Management Services Rhodora Mendoza; National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC) President Gondelina Amata, Division Chief Gregoria Buenaventura, Director Emmanuel Alexis Sevidal, Chief Financial Specialist Sofia Cruz and Department Manager Chita Jalandoni; and the officials of the following NGOs: the Countrywide Agri and Rural Economic and Development Foundation (CARED), Masaganang Ani para sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc. (MAMFI), Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc, (PSDFI) and the Social Development Program for Farmer Foundation, Inc. (SDPFFI).
Also indicted were Napoles, her employee John Raymund De Asis, Department of Budget and Management Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, and DBM officials Rosario Nuñez, Lalaine Paule and Marilou Bare.
The aforementioned officials were already facing charges before the Sandiganbayan as the co-accused of Senators Ramon Revilla Jr., Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, who are detained as they stand trial for plunder over the pork barrel scam.
In a Joint Resolution, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said the lawmakers implemented ghost projects for fictitious beneficiaries.
“Many of the names appearing on the lists as farmer-recipients were neither residents nor registered voters of the place where they were listed as beneficiaries, were fictitious or had jumbled surnames, while others were already deceased. In other words, these livelihood projects were ghost projects,” Morales said.
The Ombudsman also referred the case to the Anti-Money Laundering Council for possible violations of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
The representatives were part of the first batch of PDAF-related complaint filed by the Department of Justice and National Bureau of Investigation last September 2013, which had included Senators Revilla, Estrada and Enrile.
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