Nueva Ecija solon faces pork barrel scam raps
Former Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonino is set to face malversation and graft charges for the alleged misuse of his pork barrel funds.
In a statement on Tuesday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said she has ordered the filing of two counts of malversation and two counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) against Antonino.
Also to face the charges are former Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Arthur Yap, Alan Javellana, Rhodora Mendoza, Encarnita Cristina Munsod, Maria Ninez Guañizo, who were officials of the National Agri-Business Corporation (Nabcor); Marilou Antonio, representative of Buhay Mo Mahal Ko Foundation, Inc. (BMMKFI); and Carmelita Barredo of C.C. Barredo Publishing House.
According to records, Antonino in a Jan. 2007 letter endorsed Nabcor and BMMKFI to the agriculture department as implementors of his livelihood training kits funded by his pork barrel or the now defunct Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF).
On March 22, 2007, the BMMKFI exclusively procured from C.C. Barredo 7,275 sets of livelihood training kits worth P2,000 each for a total of P14.55 million.
A day later, the supplier delivered the kits in Roxas Boulevard which the congressman accepted and acknowledged.
Ombudsman’s field verification showed that the livelihood kits turned out to be ghost projects, with several local officials denying that they received the kits.
The project was also not supported by any project proposal, physical and audited financial reports, and monitoring reports. There was also no due diligence in the selection of supplier and foundation, the Ombudsman said.
The Ombudsman also noted the lack of public bidding or procurement for the project.
In her resolution, Morales said “the evidence established that respondent public officers conspired with private respondents in this disreputable scheme to defraud government coffers.”
She said the respondents conspired in preparing fictitious reports and other liquidation documents that would make it appear that the PDAF project was implemented.
Morales added that “in a Congressional Pork Barrel System, including the PDAF, it is the legislator who exercises actual control and custody of the PDAF share allocated to him.”
In a phone interview, Antonino denied dealing with spurious foundations and claimed that the signatures on the pertinent pork barrel documents were forged.
He said he has a handwriting expert which would prove that his signatures were all forgeries.
“I deny all of it. In the Ombudsman resolution, there are four documents that I was part of it, and all of those four documents have been proven through a handwriting expert that all my signatures there were forged,” Antonino said. CDG/rga
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