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Ex-lawmaker, 31 others in pork scam charged

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Ex-lawmaker, 31 others in pork scam charged

/ 07:40 AM August 18, 2017

Former Misamis Occidental Rep. Marina Clarete and former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

The Office of the Ombudsman has charged former Misamis Occidental Rep. Marina Clarete (first district) and 31 others in the Sandiganbayan with diverting her pork barrel funds to seven ghost projects and allowing dubious foundations to pocket P62.63 million.

Clarete was indicted for 18 counts of graft, seven counts of malversation, and 11 counts of the complex crime of malversation through falsification in connection with allocations of her Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel.

The Ombudsman recommended no bail for the offense of malversation through falsification.

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Also charged in the case was former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, who is now Bohol representative (third district).

Yap was implicated in one of the seven projects and was named coaccused on two counts of graft, and one each of malversation and malversation through falsification.

In a statement, Yap said: “In a similar PDAF case involving another congressman, I was declared innocent by the Ombudsman. I was found innocent when I merely transferred funds from one government agency to another. I never transferred a single centavo of PDAF to any NGO (nongovernment organization). Why am I being held liable?”

5 NGO projects

The Ombudsman accused Clarete of irregularly endorsing Kabuhayan at Kalusugang Alay sa Masa Foundation Inc. (KKAMFI) for five projects funded by her PDAF allocations from 2007 to 2009.

The other NGOs tapped as partners for one project each were Kasangga sa Magandang Bukas Foundation Inc. (KMBFI) and Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc. (AFPI).

Clarete allegedly disregarded the appropriations laws and the Government Procurement Reform Act for selecting the NGOs without public bidding. The foundations were found to be unaccredited and unqualified to take on the projects.

The implementing agencies—National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor), National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC), and Technology Resource Center (TRC)—were accused of failing to examine and verify the NGOs’ credentials before releasing Clarete’s PDAF proceeds for the projects.

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Not implemented

The projects turned out not to have been implemented, too, allowing the officials of KKAMFI, KMBFI and AFPI to allegedly pocket P45.59 million, P11.64 million and P5.4 million, respectively.

The NGOs allegedly fabricated sales invoices, delivery receipts, disbursement and liquidation reports, and lists of beneficiaries to respective implementing agencies. Some of these documents were certified correct by Clarete herself.

Marilou Antonio of KKAMFI and KMBFI was the private individual named Clarete’s coaccused in the most number of cases: 14 counts of graft, nine of malversation through falsification, and five of malversation.

Defendants from Nabcor include president Alan Javellana, vice president for administration and finance Rhodora Mendoza, human resources supervisor Encarnita-Cristina Munsod, chief accountant Ma. Julie Villaralvo-Johnson, support services manager Romulo Relevo, general services supervisor Victor Roman Cacal and bookkeeper Maria Ninez Guañizo.

Other accused

Accused NLDC officials include: president Gondelina Amata, accounts servicing and asset management group director Emmanuel Alexis Sevidal, director Evelyn Sucgang, asset management division chief Gregoria Buenaventura, chief budget specialist Ofelia Ordoñez, chief financial analyst Sofia Cruz, director for finance and administrative group Chita Jalandoni and budget officer Filipina Rodriguez.

TRC officials held liable were director general Antonio Ortiz, deputy director general Dennis Cunanan, technology and livelihood information dissemination services group manager/legislative liaison officer Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana, corporate support services group manager Francisco Figura, financial planning and monitoring division budget officer Consuelo Lilian Espiritu, and chief accountant Marivic Jover.

Also named coaccused were private individuals Marilou Ferrer, Allen Calma, Pio Ronquillo, Flerida Alberto, Maria Paz Vega, Rodrigo Doria, Ma. Nerizan Gador and Godofredo Roque.

The case information, totaling 161 pages and signed by Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer IV M.A. Christian O. Uy, was raffled off to the Sandiganbayan Third Division, chaired by Presiding Justice Amparo  Cabotaje-Tang.

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TAGS: Arthur Yap, Misamis Occidental Rep. Marina Clarete, Ombudsman, pork barrel scam, Sandiganbayan
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