SC affirms amendment of pork scam complaint against ex-TRC chief
THE Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the decision of the Sandiganbayan that allowed the Ombudsman to amend the complaint to include former Technology Resource Center head Antonio Ortiz in a case related to the pork barrel scam.
In a decision, the high court en banc said the Sandiganbayan did not commit abuse of discretion when it amended the charge sheet to include Ortiz and change the term Sub-ARO (Allotment Release Order) to (Special Allotment Release Order) SARO.
SARO and sub-ARO authorize the release of government funds but SARO is issued by the Department of Budget and Management and sub-ARO is issued a department agency.
“The Court agreed with the Sandiganbayan and held that the Sandiganbayan did not commit grave abuse of discretion; nor did it commit error when it found probable cause against petitioners,” the high court said.
Also dismissed was the petition filed by former Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos questioning the same Sandiganbayan resolution allowing amendment to the Ombudsman complaint.
The cases against the two stemmed from the alleged misuse of the pork barrel allotment of former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile worth P172.8 million from 2004 to 2010.
According to the indictment, the officials allegedly helped divert government funds to bogus non-government organizations linked to detained businesswoman and alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
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