Ombudsman affirms 1st set of ‘pork’ raps vs sacked N. Cotabato vice gov | Inquirer News
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Ombudsman affirms 1st set of ‘pork’ raps vs sacked N. Cotabato vice gov

/ 12:46 PM January 04, 2017

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has affirmed the indictment of dismissed North Cotabato vice governor and former congressman Gregorio Ipong for his first set of pork barrel scam raps over the alleged misuse of his P10 million pork barrel fund in 2007.

In a statement on Wednesday, Morales said she has denied Ipong’s motion for reconsideration where the dismissed official said he had no custody or control over his Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF), and that conspiracy was not established.

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Morales said Ipong personally picked the NGO partner Aaron Foundation Philippines, Inc. (AFPI), which served as a conduit-implementor even though it was not financially capable of implementing the project.

“Access to Ipong’s PDAF was made possible through his endorsement letter, asking for the release of his PDAF allocation,” Morales said.

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The Ombudsman also affirmed Ipong’s dismissal from service and perpetual disqualification from public service for the administrative offenses of Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service.

Ipong and four others were ordered charged before the Sandiganbayan for one count each of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Malversation of Public Funds over the alleged misuse of Ipong’s P10 million PDAF in 2007.

READ: Cotabato vice gov indicted over P10-M ‘pork’ misuse 

Ipong’s first set of graft and malversation charges stemmed from his indictment over the alleged misuse of his P10-million PDAF coursed to AFPI, which the Ombudsman found to be unqualified to implement livelihood projects.

Ombudsman investigators found out that Ipong’s P10-million PDAF was released in 2007 for livelihood projects in the second district of North Cotabato.

Documents showed that Ipong endorsed and identified AFPI as NGO-partner with the Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) as implementing agency.

Ombudsman field investigators said Ipong’s P10-million PDAF was fully released in a single tranche “despite the AFPI’s non-submission of any project implementation and disbursement reports.”

Ombudmsan also said the AFPI has a dubious record and was not qualified to implement livelihood projects – it had no business permits from 2004 to 2009; its listed business address is located in a vacant lot used as equipment storage; its capital stock was only P68,000; and that its net saving and net losses in 2006-2007 reflected the amounts of P750 and P5,840, respectively.

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Ipong denied the charges and said “the amount was coursed through AFPI based on the national ten-point agenda of the government at that time” and that “he was not in charge of the subject funds but a mere endorser of the livelihood project.”

But Morales cited Supreme Court jurisprudence that “under the Congressional Pork Barrel System, it is the legislator that exercises actual control and custody of the PDAF share allocated to him by appropriations statute.”

Also set to face charges are TLRC executives Antonio Ortiz, Dennis Cunanan, and Marivic Jover, as well as Alfredo Ronquillo of AFPI.

Jover was also dismissed from the service after being found guilty of Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service.

Under Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, graft is a criminal offense of causing undue injury to any party, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.

Meanwhile, under the Revised Penal Code, malversation is a criminal offense of misappropriating public funds through abandonment or negligence.

READ: Sacked North Cotabato gov, ex-DSWD head to face pork barrel scam raps

Ipong was recently ordered to be charged with a second set of graft and malversation charges this time over the alleged misuse of his P9.4 million pork barrel funds in 2007 which purportedly went to ghost projects.

Ipong was charged with Esperanza Cabral, the former Social Welfare and Health secretary of then president Gloria Arroyo.

Ipong stepped down from office last November after being served with a dismissal order over his involvement in the pork barrel scam. He has appealed his dismissal from service. CDG

RELATED STORIES

Ex-Caloocan solon, Arroyo’s ex-DSWD Secretary face malversation, graft raps 
Pork scam unseats Cotabato vice gov

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TAGS: charges, Conchita Carpio-Morales, Gregorio Ipong, North Cotabato, Ombudsman, Pork barrel, Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF), Scam
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