Ex-Albay solon faces charges for using PDAF ‘like own funds’
THE OMBUDSMAN has recommended the indictment for graft and malversation of former Albay Rep. Reno Lim and five former officials of the Technology Resource Center (TRC) for allegedly allocating P27 million of his pork barrel for ghost projects in 2007.
In a statement, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said Lim “had treated” his congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel like his “own funds” when he personally chose the nongovernment organization Kaagapay Magpakailanman Foundation Inc. (KMFI) to implement two projects he had authorized through the TRC.
Citing Ombudsman investigators’ findings, Morales said the “combined acts” of Lim and his fellow respondents “indubitably point to a concerted action to divert public funds drawn” from his pork barrel.
“Lim had treated the (PDAF) as if it were his own funds, dictating how it should be utilized and released. He not only determined the project, the implementing agency and the NGO, but also how much should go to the projects,” Morales said.
“The nefarious scheme basically involved projects… which turned out to be fictitious or nonexistent,” she said.
Charged along with Lim were former TRC officials Dennis Cunanan, Antonio Ortiz, Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana, Marivic Jover and Consuelo Lilian Espiritu.
Also indicted for violation of Republic Act No. 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and four counts of malversation were KMFI officials Carlos Soriano and France Mercado and supplier Carmelita Barredo of C.C. Barredo Publishing House.
Lim claimed his signatures were forged, and that as “a neophyte congressman he had merely followed the PDAF pre-implementation procedure.”
According to the Ombudsman, Lim had sought the release of P30 million of his pork barrel in August and November 2007 to purchase 8,000 sets of livelihood instructional materials and technology kits for Albay’s third district.
He assigned the projects to KMFI and named TRC as implementing agency. Months later, Lim signed a memorandum of agreement with TRC and KMFI for the project.
The Ombudsman said Lim “personally picked KMFI as project implementor twice without a public bidding.”