Raps filed over fake calamity in Isabela
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) on Friday brought criminal and administrative cases in the Office of the Ombudsman against Isabela Gov. Faustino Dy III and two party-list representatives for the alleged “ghost” purchase of relief goods for the province in 2013.
Also named respondents were ABS Rep. Catalina Leonen-Pizarro, 1-CARE Rep. Michael Angelo Rivera and 10 other government officials and private individuals.
In its 10-page complaint, the VACC said the accused violated Republic Act No. 9184, or the Government Procurement Act, in buying food and other goods purportedly for the victims of calamity in Isabela without public bidding.
Of the amount, P15 million came from Pizarro’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the official name of pork barrel, while the remaining came from Rivera’s PDAF allotments.
“Respondents’ prohibited acts tarnish public service. It is ‘something beyond measure, beyond allowance, not to be excused, flagrant, shameful,’” the VACC said.
Led by its chair, Martin Dino, the group also asked the Ombudsman to immediately issue a preventive suspension against the accused “considering the real and present danger that (they) will use” their position “to destroy evidence or otherwise disrupt or impede the investigation.”
The case stemmed from the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) which uncovered the purported ghost deliveries of relief items that the provincial government purchased using the pork barrel of the two lawmakers.
In its investigation, the COA said officials of 35 of the 36 municipalities in Isabela denied receiving the food packs supposedly bought by the provincial social welfare office, a scheme similar to what suspected pork barrel racket brains Janet Lim-Napoles allegedly hatched.
The state auditors said the payment for the “reimbursement of food and groceries” was made to lawyer Allan Ty, a resident of Cauayan City.
Upon the request of local officials, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) also conducted an investigation on the matter.
In her report to NBI Director Virgilio Mendez, NBI agent Pia Hazel Bulwayan said the municipal social welfare officers disclosed that there was no “calamity or disaster… that could have caused their municipalities to need and request those large amounts of relief.”
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