Hold departure order issued vs Cagas, Ducut, others in pork scam
The Sandiganbayan has issued a hold departure order against former Davao del Sur Rep. Marc Douglas Cagas IV and former Energy Regulatory Commission chief Zenaida Ducut as they face trial for malversation and graft over their alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.
In issuing the hold departure order, the antigraft court’s third division ordered the Bureau of Immigration to prevent the respondents from leaving the country unless they seek permission from the court.
The court also issued hold departure orders against Cagas’ coaccused in the scam.
“The court, in the exercise of its inherent power to use all means necessary to carry its orders into effect … hereby orders the Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration to hold the departure from the Philippines of the above-named accused and to include the name/s of said accused in the hold departure list of said bureau,” the court said in its order signed by division chair Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje Tang and fellow Associate Justices Samuel Martires and Sarah Jane Fernandez.
The Office of Special Prosecutors filed criminal charges of malversation and graft against Cagas for allegedly coursing his P7.55 million in Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) in 2008 to the bogus foundations of accused scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
Cagas served as Davao del Sur representative from 2007 to 2013.
Also charged with Cagas were Napoles and Ducut, a former Pampanga congresswoman alleged to be the scam mastermind’s contact in the House of Representatives.
Ducut was said to have toured Napoles in the House of Representatives, according to whistle-blower Merlina Suñas.
Ducut was charged for being the agent between Napoles and the lawmakers and for “receiving kickbacks or share of the PDAF proceeds for and in behalf of Cagas IV,” the prosecution said.
Cagas, Napoles and Ducut were charged with three counts of malversation for allegedly misappropriating, through abandonment and negligence, some P7.55 million in PDAF to the bogus Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation Inc. (SDPFFI) and People’s Organization for Progress and Development Foundation Inc. (POPDFI).
Cagas’ PDAF were intended for agricultural production packages in Davao del Sur which turned out to be nonexistent.
They were also charged with three counts of graft for causing injury to government when Cagas gave Napoles undue advantage in implementing the ghost projects.
Cagas was accused of violating Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for acting with manifest partiality, evident bad faith and gross inexcusable negligence in allowing his PDAF to be misused; as well as of violating the Revised Penal Code for malversation or misappropriation of public funds.
According to the prosecution, Cagas endorsed Napoles’ foundations to the Technology Resource Center (TRC) and National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor) as a project partner to implement his PDAF without the benefit of a public bidding and even though the foundations were not qualified.
Napoles and her employees fabricated acceptance and delivery reports, disbursement reports, project proposals, and other liquidation documents “to conceal the fictitious nature of the transaction, to the damage and prejudice of the Republic of the Philippines,” the prosecutors said.
For expediting the issuance of the special allotment release orders to release Cagas’ PDAF, Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos was also charged with his staff Rosario Nuñez, Marilou Bare, and Lalaine Paule.
The TRC officials charged with Cagas were director general Antonio Ortiz, deputy director general Dennis Cunanan, group manager Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana, group manager Francisco Figura, budget officer Consuelo Espiritu, and chief accountant Marivic Jover.
The Nabcor officials charged were president Alan Javellana and his employees Victor Cacal, Maria Ninez Guañizo, Ma. Julie Villaralvo-Johnson, and Rhodora Mendoza.
Also charged were Napoles’ employees John Raymund de Asis, Noel Macha, Jesus Castillo, Margarita Guadinez, Ireneo Pirater, and Jocelyn Deiparine.
According to the charge sheet, the bail is set at P30,000 for each count of graft and P40,000 for each count of malversation.
“The above acts of the accused public officials thus allowed (the bogus foundations) to divert said PDAF-drawn public funds into Napoles’ control instead of implementing the PDAF-funded projects which turned out to be non-existent,” the charge sheet read.
The Sandiganbayan is hearing the plunder cases over the pork barrel scam of Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr., Juan Ponce Enrile, and Jinggoy Estrada, and former Apec party-list Rep. Edgar Valdez and dismissed Masbate Gov. Rizalina Seachon Lanete; as well as the malversation cases against former Cagayan de Oro Rep. Constantino Jaraula, former Benguet Rep. Samuel Dangwa, and former Agusan del Sur Rep. Rodolfo Plaza.
Revilla and Estrada are detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center after their bail petitions were denied, while the elderly Enrile was allowed by the Supreme Court to post bail from hospital detention due to humanitarian considerations.
Meanwhile, Valdez and Lanete were allowed to post bail from their detention at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig after the prosecution failed to prove that they received millions of kickbacks from Napoles.
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