Ex-Oriental Mindoro solon pleads not guilty to pork barrel raps
Former Oriental Mindoro Reph. Rodolfo Valencia, already convicted for corruption in a separate case, on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to malversation and graft charges over his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.
During his scheduled arraignment before the Sandiganbayan Seventh Division, Valencia cited witnesses’ testimony that they forged his signatures.
“All the signatures were forged, so I am not guilty your Honors,” Valencia told the court.
Valencia was among the lawmakers in the second batch of respondents accused in the pork barrel scam to be prosecuted by the Ombudsman before the Sandiganbayan.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor filed three counts of malversation and three counts of graft against Valencia for coursing his Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF), the now defunct pork barrel, to a bogus foundation of alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
According to the charge sheet, Valencia was charged with three counts of malversation for misappropriating through abandonment or negligence his pork barrel amounting to P6.51 million to the Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundation (Mamfi) from 2008 to 2009.
Valencia’s PDAF was intended for livelihood projects in Oriental Mindoro which turned out to be fictitious, the prosecutors said.
The Ombudsman also charged Valencia with three counts of graft for acting with evident bad faith, gross inexcusable negligence and manifest partiality by favoring private individuals Napoles and Celia Cuasay but causing damages to government.
Napoles and Cuasay faced the same charges.
According to the prosecutors, Valencia endorsed Napoles’ Mamfi to 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 Mamfi was not qualified to implement such project.
Valencia and TRC and Nabcor then entered into a memorandum of agreement with Mamfi.
Napoles 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.
Valencia allegedly got P2.4-million kickbacks from his PDAF projects.
For expediting the issuance of the special allotment release orders to release Valencia’s PDAF, budget undersecretary Mario Relampagos was also charged with his staff Rosario Nuñez, Marilou Bare, and Lalaine Paule.
The TRC officials charged with Valencia were the director general Antonio Ortiz, deputy director general Dennis Cunanan, group manager Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana, group manager Francisco Figura, budget officer Consuelo Espiritu, chief accountant Marivic Jover.
The Nabcor officials charged were president Alan Javellana, paralegal employee Victor Cacal, accounting services division officer-in-charge Maria Ninez Guañizo, and administrative and finance director Rhodora Mendoza.
Valencia has already been convicted with Oriental Mindoro governor Alfonso Umali Jr. by the Sandiganbayan for graft and sentenced to six to 10 years in prison for granting a P2.5 million loan to Engr. Alfredo Atienza to finance the cost of repair, operation and maintenance of the private vessel M/V ACE owned by Atienza.
Umali was then a provincial administrator while Valencia was then governor when they committed the crime in 1994. Umali is the treasurer of the Liberal Party. CDG/rga
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