4 ex-solons face ‘pork’ raps
MANILA, Philippines—The Ombudsman on Friday filed the second batch of criminal cases in the P10-billion congressional pork barrel scam against a second group of lawmakers and the alleged scam mastermind, Janet Lim-Napoles.
Charged before the Sandiganbayan were former House members Rodolfo Plaza (Agusan del Sur), Rizalina Seachon-Lanete (Masbate), Samuel Dangwa (Benguet) and Constantino Jaraula (Cagayan de Oro City).
Napoles—already detained in a first batch of plunder charges in connection with the diversion of the the pork barrel allotments of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada, who are similarly detained—is facing another plunder charge, accused this time of diverting more than P244 million of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations of her coaccused four former House members to her fake foundations from 2007 to 2009.
Of the four former lawmakers, only Lanete, who is now the governor of Masbate province, was charged with plunder and graft for allegedly appropriating for herself through Napoles’ scheme P112.29 million of her PDAF allotments.
Plaza, Dangwa and Jaraula were indicted for several counts of malversation and graft.
Also included in the criminal complaints filed by the Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office (FIO) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) were the chiefs of staff of the former lawmakers, Napoles’ former employees and several government officials.
In a statement, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said the FIO investigators found that the names which appeared in the list of beneficiaries of the projects financed by the former lawmakers’ pork barrel were “neither residents nor registered voters of the place where they were listed as beneficiaries.”
She said the names of other supposed beneficiaries submitted by the four Napoles-owned nongovernment organizations “were fictitious or had jumbled surnames while others were already deceased.”
“In other words, these livelihood projects were ghost projects,” Morales said.
“Almost all the NGOs that received PDAF releases did not have track records in implementing government projects and that their addresses were dubious,” she added.
According to Morales, the multimillion-peso projects were awarded to the fictitious foundations and the items were purchased without public bidding.
Some of the suppliers of the livelihood kits told the graft investigators that they did not have any transactions with the NGOs, she said.
Citing the audit reports of the Commission on Audit (COA), Morales said the implementing agencies that served as conduits in the release of the lawmakers’ pork barrel “did not actually implement the PDAF-funded projects and merely released the funds to the NGOs after charging a management fee.”
The Ombudsman said the direct releases of government funds to the foundations violated the policies of the Department of Budget and Management “since they were not preceded by endorsements from the executive departments.”
“The releases were made essentially at the behest of the sponsoring legislator.”
Also named in the complaints were John Raymund de Asis, a brother of Napoles, and Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos and three members of his staff—Rosario Nuñez, Lalaine Paule and Marilou Bare.
Also facing criminal charges are the following government officials: Technology Resource Center (TRC) Director General Antonio Ortiz, his deputy Dennis Cunanan, TRC department manager Francisco Figura, TRC chief accountant Marivic Jover, former National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor) president Alan Javellana, Nabcor paralegal officer Victor Roman Cacal, Nabcor general services unit chief Romulo Relevo, Nabcor bookkeeper Maria Ninez Guañizo, Nabcor chief accountant Ma. Julie Villaralvo-Johnson, Nabcor financial management services chief Rhodora Mendoza,
National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC) president Gondelina Amata, NLDC division chief Gregoria Buenaventura, NLDC director Emmanuel Alexis Sevidal, NLDC chief financial specialist Sofia Cruz, and NLDC department manager Chita Jalandoni.
Also indicted were the officers of the following foundations and NGOs: Countrywide Agri and Rural Economic and Development Foundation, Masaganang Ani para sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc., Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc. and the Social Development Program for Farmer Foundation Inc.
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