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‘Ghost’ livelihood projects

Former La Union lawmaker, 21 others charged in P44-M pork barrel scam

/ 02:09 AM February 17, 2017

Former La Union 2nd District Rep. Thomas Dumpit Jr. and 21 others have been charged in the Sandiganbayan with spending P43.65 million in pork barrel funds on “ghost” livelihood projects from 2009 to 2010.

A total of 18 criminal cases—nine each for malversation of public funds and violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act—were filed in connection with the alleged scheme to misappropriate the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations for the 18 barangays of Tubao town.

The graft-ridden PDAF, which funded pet projects of lawmakers, was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2013.

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Among the coaccused is Godofredo Roque, chief executive officer of Kabuhayan at Kalusugang Alay sa Masa Foundation Inc. (KKAMFI).

Network of NGOs

His network of nongovernment organizations (NGOs) reportedly rivaled the ones linked to businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, believed to be the mastermind of the P10-billion PDAF scam.

Napoles, former Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile and Bong Revilla are among those charged with plunder for the misuse of PDAF.

Prosecutors from the Office of the Ombudsman said it was Dumpit who endorsed KKAMFI as the partner NGO to National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC), a state firm later ordered abolished by Malacañang in 2015.

Dumpit selected KKAMFI without public bidding and in disregard of its lack of qualification to undertake the projects, according to the graft charge sheets.

The lawmaker, along with KKAMFI and the project suppliers, allegedly signed the reports, receipts and liquidation documents to make it appear that the projects were implemented even as they “turned out to be nonexistent.”

No due diligence

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For their part, NLDC officials were faulted for processing and approving the disbursement of Dumpit’s PDAF proceeds without conducting due diligence audit and carefully examining the transaction documents.

The allegedly faked documents included certification letters,  inspection, project physical, auditor’s and financial status reports, summaries of expenditures and training expenses, disbursement and liquidation reports, list of beneficiaries, official and delivery receipts, and sales invoices.

“By their acts, Dumpit Jr. and the accused NLDC officials allowed above-named private individuals to take possession and misappropriate PDAF-drawn public funds for nonexistent projects, to the damage and prejudice of the Republic of the Philippines,” the malversation charges read.

9 counts each of graft

Dumpit and Roque were charged with all nine counts of graft and malversation, along with six NLDC officials—president Gondelina Amata, director Chita Jalandoni, chief budget specialist Ofelia Ordoñez, accounts servicing and asset management group director Emmanuel Alexis Sevidal, asset management division chief Gregoria Buenaventura and chief financial analyst Sofia Cruz.

Also facing nine counts each of graft and malversation are four other KKAMFI executives—president Flerida Alberto, chief finance officer Marilou Antonio, trustee and supply officer Rodrigo Doria, and administrative officer Maria Paz Vega.

Prosecutors recommended that bail totaling P630,000 be set for the aforementioned persons facing 18 criminal cases.

Dumpit’s political affairs assistant Elsie Walican and CC Barredo Publishing House’s Carmelita Barredo, respectively, are facing seven and five counts each of graft and malversation.

The recommended bail for Walican was P490,000, and for Barredo, P350,000.

Two NLDC employees—budget officer Filipina Rodriguez and officer Evelyn Sucgang—and KKAMFI staff member Ma. Neriza Gador face four counts each of graft and malversation, and their bail recommendation is set at P280,000.

Also charged with four counts each of graft and malversation were the following suppliers: Joel Soriano, owner of Chateau Verde Condominium; George Roque, owner of G. Roque Enterprises; Emilio Estaloza, proprietor of Estaloza Electronics & Sound System; Cresencio Palway, owner of Agoo Transit Corp.; and Lilibeth Aloot, owner of Kia-Ora Store.

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TAGS: former La Union representative, ghost livelihood projects, Godofredo Roque, KKAMFI, PDAF, pork barrel scam, Priority Development Assistance Fund, Thomas Dumpit Jr.
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