Ex-Speaker Fuentebella, wife face plunder complaint
FORMER Speaker Arnulfo Fuentebella and his wife face a plunder complaint before the Ombudsman for allegedly accumulating ill-gotten wealth.
In a complaint filed by grassroots organization ZeroTolerance.org, former Camarines Sur Rep. Fuentebella and his wife, Sangay Mayor Evelyn, should be charged with plunder for the alleged unexplained wealth not declared in their Statements of Assets and Liabilities Networth.
The complaint alleged that Fuentebella has P186.659 million in unexplained wealth – P83.147 million in properties, P20.96 million in unaccounted pork barrel funds, P45.351 million in government projects built inside private properties, P12.2 million in vehicles, and a P25 million mansion.
“What the complainant discovered from its own research and from reports and documents from various sources reveal that the respondents indeed have acquired wealth which is beyond what they could have earned with their government salaries. Given that the respondents have no other known legitimate sources of income, the wealth acquired by the respondents can only be ill-gotten from schemes involving government funds,” the complaint read.
The complainant alleged that Fuentebella benefitted from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) because his allocations were allegedly spent for infrastructure projects built inside his family estate.
Fuentebella allegedly spent P10.976 million in public funds for a multi-purpose building, road concreting, a viewing deck, and a multi-purpose pavement within a 50,000-square meter estate called Sitio Elis Point, which the family inherited from their patriarch Don Mariano Fuentebella.
The former Speaker also purportedly spent P28.7 million to construct a sports complex, concrete road network, a multi-purpose building, a swimming pool and a helipad in his estate Abo Farm.
“All these structures were constructed using public funds, but, for an apparently private purpose and inside a private property…. They lie within ‘Sitio Elis Point,’ a vast and gated estate exclusively owned and used by respondents and their immediate family,” the complaint read.
Fuentebella was also accused of misdeclaring his wealth in his SALN.
According to the complaint, Fuentebella and his wife own lands worth P83.147 million which were not declared in their SALN.
While Fuentebella only declared a P35,000 monthly salary as congressman, he allegedly owns a mansion worth P25 million and luxurious vehicles worth P12.2 million, the complaint claimed.
“How could the members of this family, whose only source of income comes from government salaries, afford all the mansions, vehicles, and the frequent travels to foreign destinations?” according to the complaint.
“(R)espondents have amassed, accumulated or acquired massive ill-gotten wealth through, at the very least, the misuse, or malversation of public funds, or by the illegal or fraudulent conveyance or disposition of assets belonging to the National Government in their favor, and by taking advantage of their official position or authority to unjustly enrich themselves at the expense and to the damage and prejudice of the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines,” it added.
Former Speaker Fuentebella belongs to the powerful political dynasty which has ruled Camarines Sur for over 100 years.
He is the son Felix Fuentebella, who was congressman for 19 years (1953-1972) and governor for four years (1976-1980). Arnulfo Fuentebella served as congressman from 1992 to 2001 and from 2004 to 2010. Arnulfo’s son Wimpy served as congressman in his father’s stead from 2001 to 2004.
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