Pork scam unseats Cotabato vice gov
KIDAPAWAN CITY — North Cotabato Vice Gov. Gregorio Ipong stepped down from office after receiving a dismissal order from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday.
The dismissal stemmed from an earlier decision of the Office of the Ombudsman finding Ipong, a former representative of North Cotabato province, guilty of grave misconduct for misusing his congressional funds during his term in the House of Representatives.
Ali Abdullah, DILG provincial head, said Reynaldo Bungubung, the agency’s regional director, served the dismissal order to Ipong, who represented the province’s second district from 1998 to 2007. He said senior Board Member Shirlyn Macasarte will replace Ipong.
A member of Ipong’s staff, who asked not to be named for lack of authority to speak to reporters, said the vice governor would file a motion for reconsideration.
The Ombudsman, citing its investigation, said the Department of Budget and Management, in 2007, released P10 million from Ipong’s Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel for livelihood projects in the second district of North Cotabato.
Ipong allegedly endorsed the bogus nongovernment organization Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc., as partner, and the Technology and Livelihood Resource Center as implementing agency.
With Ipong’s dismissal, Macasarte will become the province’s acting governor because Gov. Emmylou Talinoo-Mendoza is serving a 90-day suspension.
Mendoza was temporarily removed from office over the province’s alleged anomalous procurement of fuel from a gasoline station owned by her mother, Noemi Talino.
Board Member Christobal Cadungon will serve as acting vice governor. WILLIAMOR A. MAGBANUA
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