Ex-Cebu solons face graft for P6-M pork barrel scam
Two former Cebu representatives were indicted by the Ombudsman for graft over the alleged misuse of their pork barrel funds in 2004.
In a statement, the Office of the Ombudsman said it found probable cause to file charges of violations of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against Antonio Cuenco of the 2nd district and Antonio Yapha Jr. of the 3rd district of Cebu.
Regional Executive Director Eduardo Lecciones of the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Unit was also charged with two counts of graft.
According to the Ombudsman, Cuenco and Yapha endorsed the Kasosyo Foundation Inc. to Lecciones to implement a project using their Priority Development Assistance Funds, the now defunct pork barrel.
The Ombudsman found out that the two representatives chose the foundation without the benefit of a public bidding and despite the lack of experience of the nongovernment organization.
At least 4,000 bottles of liquid fertilizers at P1,500 per bottle were purchased by Kasosyo for a total project cost of P6 million sourced from the representatives’ PDAF.
“Despite Kasosyo’s failure to comply with the legal requirements, respondents Cuenco and Yapha unequivocally endorsed said NGO without providing any reason or justification for their choice and without first ascertaining if the latter was eligible or qualified,” the Ombudsman said.
The Ombudsman said the respondents signed endorsement letters, a memorandum of agreement, and approved payments to Kasosyo despite the irregularities.
“(Respondents) performed overt acts of signing endorsement letters, entered into a MOA, and approved payments to Kasosyo, all designed to bring [to] fruition the sole objective of making Kasosyo as the project partner which would undertake the farm imputs/farm implements projects,” the Ombudsman said.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales directed the Field Investigation Office to conduct further inquiry into the alleged overpricing in the procurement of liquid fertilizers. JE/rga
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