Ombudsman ignored evidence of forgery, says ex-solon
JAEN, Nueva Ecija—Former Rep. Rodolfo Antonino on Wednesday said the Office of the Ombudsman ignored evidence showing that documents bearing his signatures were forged when it ordered the filing of graft and malversation charges against him in connection with the disbursement of his pork barrel.
The evidence was transmitted to the Ombudsman in a motion for reconsideration he filed in June, Antonino said. It included the testimony of a handwriting expert that his signatures were fake in all documents that the Ombudsman was using to link Antonino to the alleged irregular disbursement of his P14.5-million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales also ordered the filing of the same charges against former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap and six other people.
Among the documents that Antonino claimed bore his forged signatures were the letters to the Department of Budget and Management and to Yap and a list of supposed PDAF beneficiaries.
Antonino said the charges surprised him.
“That was the same case with Sen. Joel Villanueva, [who was also charged with graft in connection with the pork barrel scam but was cleared on the same reason that the signatures were forged],” he said.
That argument convinced the National Bureau Of Investigation and the Department of Justice to junk the charges against Villanueva, Antonino said.
But in his case, Antonino said, the Ombudsman ruled that he should prove his claim of forgery in court.
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