Ex-Albay solon to face pork barrel scam raps
The Ombudsman has ordered the filing of graft and malversation charges against former Albay Rep. Reno Lim for the anomalous use of his pork barrel funds worth P27 million in 2007.
In a statement on Friday, the Office of the Ombudsman said it is set to file four counts of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and four counts of Malversation against Lim, five Technology Resource Center (TRC) officials, Kaagapay Magpakailanman Foundation Inc. (KMFI) representatives and Carmelita Barredo of C.C. Barredo Publishing House.
According to the Ombudsman, Lim in 2007 requested the release of P30 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and chose the TRC as implementing agency with the KMFI as the non-government organization partner.
The PDAF was allotted for the procurement of 8,000 sets of livelihood instructional materials and technology kits.
But the Commission on Audit uncovered that the project was a “fictitious or ghost project” because there were no deliveries of livelihood kits.
Ombudsman investigators said that “not one among the constituents of said legislative district received the livelihood technology kit.”
In the 2008 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed by Lim, TRC and KMFI representatives, Lim picked KMFI as NGO partner without the benefit of a public bidding.
Lim also approved the payment of P27 million prior to the signing of the MOA.
The COA also uncovered other blatant fund anomalies: lack of track record of KMFI as it was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission only in 2006; the NGO had no legitimate business address with its address being the same as C.C. Barredo; no accreditation process to determine the capacity of KMFI.
Ombudsman said it denied the motion for reconsideration of Lim where he said that he had good faith in entrusting his PDAF to the spurious foundation that implemented his pork barrel fund as ghost projects.
In his MR, Lim said “he is not liable for his PDAF having no hand in its disbursement and having relied in good faith that it will be used for the purpose it was intended.”
The Ombudsman countered that “the evidence [consisting] of sworn statements of the witnesses, the disbursement vouchers, the endorsed/encashed checks, the MOA’s with KMFI, the written requests, liquidation reports, confirmation letters and other evidence on record, indubitably establish that [Lim] connived with the TRC officials in the repeated conversion of his P30 million PDAF.”
“The findings of this Office are also buttressed by the Notices of Disallowance recently issued by the Commission on Audit on 26 October 2015,” the Ombudsman added.
Also charged with Lim are the following officials: TRC’s Antonio Ortiz, Dennis Cunanan, Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana, Marivic Jover and Consuelo Lilian Espiritu; and KMFI representatives Carlos Soriano and France Mercado.
The Ombudsman also found Jover and Espiritu guilty of the administrative offense of grave misconduct and ordered their dismissal from service. CDG/rga
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