Former Misamis solon faces ‘pork’ graft raps
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has ordered the filing of graft and malversation charges against a former Mindanao lawmaker for using P65 million of her congressional pork barrel funds for “ghost projects” from 2007 to 2009.
Former Misamis Occidental Rep. Marina Clarete will face 18 counts of violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, 11 counts of malversation through falsification of public documents, and seven counts of malversation, the Ombudsman said in a news release.
Also charged were former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, now a Bohol representative, and former executives of government-owned and -controlled corporations, including Alan Javellana, former president of National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor).
Investigators found that from 2007 to 2009, the Department of Budget and Management released P65 million as part of the lawmaker’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF or pork barrel), a discretionary fund for projects identified by lawmakers.
Clarete then identified and endorsed Nabcor, National Livelihood Development Corp. and Technology Resource Center, as implementing agencies of her livelihood project.
On the other hand, Kabuhayan at Kalusugang Alay sa Masa Foundation Inc., Kasangga sa Magandang Bukas Foundation Inc. and Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc. were named as nongovernment organization partners.
Clarete claimed that the P65 million was used to fund the distribution of livelihood technology kits and trainings; water pumps; hand tractors; and seedlings of calamansi, rambutan and mango.
Field validation, however, revealed that the recipients in the list of purported beneficiaries denied having received any of the items. None of the mayors or municipal agriculturists in the first district were even aware of the projects, the investigation also showed.
To liquidate the funds, respondents submitted “fabricated documents,” the Ombudsman said.
Clarete denied the charges, claiming her signatures in the documents were forged and that the Commission on Audit had not issued any notice of disallowance on the use of the fund.
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