Raps ordered filed vs ex-solon, ex-DSWD chief over ‘pork’ scam
After finding probable cause, the Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the filing of graft and malversation charges against a former congressman and 24 others in connection with the alleged “pork barrel” scam.
In a resolution released on Friday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales ordered the filing of 19 counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, 12 counts of malversation thru falsification of public documents and seven counts of malversation against Northern Samar Representative Emil Ong.
Ong and 24 others are facing multiple criminal charges for his alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) also known as “pork barrel” amounting to P62 million from 2007 to 2009.
Also named as Ong’s co-accused in the charges were former Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Esperanza Cabral, other agency officials and staff members, and representatives of various implementing agencies. Also included in the charge sheet was Ong’s representative, Jesus Acebuche.
The Ombudsman said “in-depth investigation” and actual field verification revealed that Ong received a total amount of P62 million for his PDAF from 2007 to 2009.
The fund was supposed to benefit his constituents in Northern Samar’s 2nd district in the form of livelihood capital assistance, distribution of fruit and vegetable seedlings, vermi-culture livelihood training packages, distribution of off-season vegetables, trainings, and manuals.
“The Ombudsman, however, found the projects turned out to be non-existent or “ghost projects facilitated by Ong and his cohorts. Local officials in the 2nd district attested that ‘they were not even aware of the projects’ and that ‘they denied receiving anything from the office of Ong or any of the project partners,’” Morales said in a statement.
“As part of the cover-up, respondents submitted fake documents to support the liquidation such as project reports, distributions lists of beneficiaries, receipts, certificates of acceptance and inspection.”
The Ombudsman said the alleged project suppliers also denied transacting with respondents while some did not have records with the Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Trade and Industry.
“Worse, the Bureau of Internal Revenue has no records of any tax returns, tax clearances, audited financial statements and/or financial reports of any of the NGOs or alleged suppliers. Neither was there any public bidding conducted for the procurement of farm implements and livelihood projects,” Morales said.
“Despite this irregularity, Ong endorsed these NGOs as the project implementers. He entered into memorandum of agreements with the IAs and the NGOs, approved the project proposals, and thereafter, continuously sought the release of the funds in the NGO’s favor.”
“His (Ong) representative, Acebuche, assisted him in perpetrating the fraud by signing a certificate of acceptance in his behalf,” Morales said in a statement,” the Ombudsman added.
Morales said Ong failed to file any counter-affidavit despite filing several motions for extension of time. IDL/rga
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