Ex-lawmaker, TRC official meted 40 years for graft
The Sandiganbayan convicted former Albay Rep. Reno Lim and a former official of the now defunct Technology Resource Center (TRC) guilty of graft and malversation for the misuse of P30 million in pork barrel funds in 2007.
Aside from Lim, the court’s Second Division also found Ma. Rosalinda Lacsamana, a former TRC official, guilty of graft and malversation.
In a 41-page decision on May 5, both Lim and Lacsamana were meted 24 to 40 years of imprisonment for four counts of graft.
The two were also found guilty of four counts of malversation of public funds. The Sandiganbayan also sentenced them to imprisonment of up to 40 years and barred them from holding public office for life.
The antigraft court, however, acquitted three former TRC officials in the case for the prosecution’s failure to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
‘Partner or coimplementer’
Based on the Ombudsman’s charges, Lim requested his pork barrel, also known as the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), be released for the purchase of 8,000 sets of livelihood instructional materials and technology kits for a livelihood assistance project.
The funds were released in two tranches: an initial P15 million in 2007 and another P15 million in 2008.
According to the case records, Lim named Kaagapay Magpakailanman Foundation Inc. (KMFI) as “partner or coimplementer” of the livelihood projects.
But state prosecutors established during the trial that the funds were released to KMFI without being examined and verified by TRC officials and without public bidding.
Lim denied the charges and disowned the signatures appearing on the endorsement letters in 2007 and 2008.
Lim told the court that his only participation relative to his PDAF allocation was his request for its release and denied the rest of the transactions showing his signatures, which he claimed were forged.
Even after the presentation of his defense, the court found that Lim was privy to the transactions involving his PDAF allocation.
“He, in effect, endorsed, as he purportedly did not object to the designation of KMFI as coimplementer of the supposed livelihood projects to be funded by his PDAF despite the obvious red flags appearing on records,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Edgardo Caldona.
Associate Justices Oscar Herrera Jr. (division chair) and Arthur Malabaguio concurred with the decision.
The court also said that the KMFI failed to implement the supposed livelihood projects funded by Lim’s PDAF and to date, the funds released remain unliquidated.
“To put it bluntly, nothing came out of the PDAF allocations of accused Lim for the subject period,” it added.