Former La Union solon to face trial for P44-M pork barrel scam
First published: 10:35 a.m., June 28, 2017
The Sandiganbayan has ordered the arrest of former La Union Rep. Thomas Dumpit Jr. after finding probable cause to face the cases of graft and malversation in connection with the alleged P43.65-million pork barrel scam.
In a minute resolution, the anti-graft court Seventh Division said it found probable cause to hold Dumpit on trial on charges of malversation of public funds, malversation through falsification, and violations of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Dumpit’s co-accused is Godofredo Roque, who allegedly had his own ring of bogus nongovernment organizations that rivaled the P10-billion pork barrel scam purportedly operated by Janet Lim-Napoles.
The court said it found no merit in Dumpit’s move to remand the case back to the Office of the Ombudsman for reinvestigation supposedly because his signatures were forged.
The court would determine the authenticity of the signatures in a full-blown trial, the court said.
“The duty to determine the authenticity of a signature rests on the magistrate, who must conduct an independent examination of the signature itself, in order to arrive at a reasonable conclusion as to its authenticity. Forgery cannot be presumed,” the court said.
The court said there was probable cause to try Dumpit for allegedly endorsing Roque’s bogus foundation Kabuhayan at Kalusugang Alay sa Masa Foundation Inc. (KKAMFI) to implement his pork barrel projects that reportedly ended up to be non-existent.
The court said it is issuing an arrest warrant against Dumpit and hold him on trial.
“The Court finds that there is substantial basis to support the finding of probable cause for the purpose of issuing a warrant of arrest against accused and hold them for trial,” the court said.
Dumpit’s charges stemmed from the alleged anomalous disbursement from 2009 to 2010 of his P43.65 million Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) which allegedly went to “ghost” projects for kickbacks.
The Ombudsman said his pork barrel projects were intended to benefit 18 barangays of Tubao town, but they turned out ot be non-existent.
The bogus foundation was also selected without public bidding and even though it was unqualified to implement the projects, the prosecution added. /JPV /atm
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