Evardone facing graft rap with Ombudsman
TACLOBAN CITY—Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone is facing a graft complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman for an act that happened about 10 years ago.
Evardone, who was governor at that time, was accused by Edilberto Grata, Jr., for violation of section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act as his questioned acts allegedly resulted to ‘undue injury’ to the provincial government of Eastern Samar.
Grata, a resident of Can-avid, also in Eastern Samar, in his complaint before the anti-graft court on Jan.14, stated that Evardone committed graft involving P5.37 million by extending financial assistance to the Liga ng mga Barangay-Eastern Samar.
The assistance was used for a Lakbay Aral (Study Tour) involving barangay leaders of the province for a seminar on good governance in Baguio City on February 2009.
During the seminar, Grata also said that Evardone, who was on his last term as governor at that time and had expressed his desire to run for congressman during the 2010 elections, also handed P1,000 each to the barangay leaders who attended the seminar.
The provincial government, under Evardone, also entered an agreement with SEAIR to transport the participants, Grata said in his complaint.
Part of the ‘overall design of the seminar-workshop was a commitment made by the governor and the participants, Grata said.
“In this situation, each barangay chairperson would be made to express his/her commitment of support to then Governor Evardone who made known his intentions to run for Congress in 2010 elections,” he said.
And by giving their support to his congressional bid, Evardone gave P1,000 each to them, Grata added.
But Evardone, who is now on his last term as congressman of the lone district of Eastern Samar and is seeking for the gubernatorial post in this year’s elections, dismissed the complaint as nothing but ‘purely politically motivated.’
“The fund in questions were an aid to barangays transferred to the Liga ng mga Barangays through a memorandum of understanding. It was the Liga that disbursed the funds, which were fully liquidated and supported by official receipts and airline tickets. So not a single centavo passed through me,” Evardone said in a press statement.
“This happened a decade ago and the timing is suspect. Why only now? There is no doubt that the filing of the case is purely politically motivated,” the congressman said. /lzb
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