After NBI complaint, Aquino ally faces Ombudsman probe over pork scam
The Office of the Ombudsman is set to investigate Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (Tesda) Secretary Joel Villanueva for his alleged role in the pork barrel scam outside the web of Janet Lim-Napoles.
This after Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales approved the recommendation of its Field Investigation Office (FIO) to conduct preliminary investigation and administrative adjudication proceedings against Villanueva, who is a former representative for the Citizens Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) party-list.
The FIO conducted its own fact-finding over the alleged scam.
Also set to be investigated are former Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Arthur Yap and nine others in connection with the anomalous utilization of P10 million in Villanueva’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
The approval of a preliminary investigation developed just hours after the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed before the Ombudsman the third batch of pork barrel scam cases, suing Villanueva and 8 other former and incumbent lawmakers for malversation, graft and direct bribery in connection with the pork barrel scam allegedly orchestrated by Napoles.
In the NBI complaint, Villanueva is accused of receiving P2.330 million kickbacks from accused pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles when he was a representative for the Citizens Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) party-list.
Villanueva and Yap face the Ombudsman’s investigation for the charges of Malversation, Falsification of Public Documents, and violation of Sections 3(e) and 3(a) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).
They also face administrative charges for Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service.
The Ombudsman investigators said it obtained two Special Allotment Release Orders (Saro) for Villanueva’s P10 million in PDAF which was coursed through the Napoles-linked Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc. (AFPI) with the National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor) as the intended implementing agency.
AFPI is a dubious non-government organization outside the web of the bogus foundations linked to accused pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
Villanueva wrote to then Secretary Yap to transfer the funds to Nabcor as implementing agency.
Villanueva’s PDAF as Cibac representative was supposed to finance the distribution of seedlings (pechay, radish, sitaw, okra and yellow corn seedlings), liquid fertilizers, and post-harvest facility (thresher).
But the Ombudsman investigators said no one in the supposed list of beneficiaries was identified as a bona fide resident of the Compostela Valley region, the site of Villanueva’s PDAF project.
Local government officials also said there was neither an agri-based livelihood project implemented nor was there any distribution of seedlings, liquid fertilizers, or threshers.
The Ombudsman FIO also said Nabcor passed on its duty to implement the project to the Napoles foundation and that the foundation has no capacity to implement PDAF projects, with a measly capital stock contribution of P68,000.
The Ombudsman also said the memorandum of agreement entered into between Nabcor and the Napoles foundation did not include technical information such as project name, intended beneficiaries, benefits, project description, site location, and time schedules for project monitoring.
The Ombudsman probers also said based on the Commission on Audit report, the supplier of the farm inputs and farm implement is not a licensed fertilizer distributor and has no existing business name registration.
The investigators could not also locate the supplier in its given address in Malabon City.
Also included in the probe are representatives of Nabcor and AFPI: Allan Javellana, Rhodora Mendoza, Charie Sarah Saquing, Romulo Relevo, Maria Ninez Guañizo, Ma. Julie Villaralvo-Johnson, Delia Ladera, Ronald Samonte, and Alfredo Ronquillo.
Villanueva is a member of the administration coalition and is eyed to run as senator for the Liberal Party ticket in 2016. He is the son of Jesus is Lord founder Bro. Eddie Villanueva.
Villanueva was appointed Tesda Director General with a Cabinet rank by President Aquino. He served as Citizens Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) Representative from the 12th to 14th Congress.
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