WHAT WENT BEFORE: The Malampaya Fund
In December 2016, the Ombudsman dismissed the criminal complaint against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is now Speaker of the House, former Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, and two employees of the Department of Agrarian Reform for “insufficiency of evidence” in the alleged misuse of P900 million from the Malampaya Fund.
The Malampaya project involves the extraction of natural gas from the waters off Palawan province. The government’s share was to be used for energy projects, but this was expanded to finance programs authorized by Malacañang.
During the Arroyo administration, the diversion of the government’s share to victims of Tropical Storms “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” in 2009 marked the first time that the Malampaya Fund was used for a project other than those related to energy development.
On Dec. 1, 2017, the Ombudsman filed in the Sandiganbayan charges against former Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr., former Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman, alleged brains of the P10-billion pork barrel scam Janet Lim-Napoles, socialite Ruby Tuason and 21 others. All the accused faced 97 counts of graft and malversation.
They were accused of falsifying documents in order to divert the discretionary funds to ghost livelihood projects of 12 foundations linked to Napoles.
Plunder charges, however, were not pursued.
Napoles’ children Jo Christine and James Christopher, brother Reynald Lim, nephew Ronald John Lim and other employees allegedly forged request letters from mayors of 97 towns and cities in Luzon.
Napoles allegedly gave kickbacks to Pangandaman in exchange for requests for the release of the funds by the Department of Budget and Management headed by Andaya.
On Oct. 5, 2018, the Sandiganbayan denied the motion of Napoles’ brother to quash his indictment.
In December 2018, it denied the plea of Tuason to return the Malampaya scam cases to the Ombudsman for reinvestigation by President Rodrigo Duterte’s appointee, Samuel Martires. —Inquirer Research
SOURCE: INQUIRER ARCHIVES
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