Andaya cleared in pork scam; ex-Ilocos Sur solon faces graft raps | Inquirer News
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Andaya cleared in pork scam; ex-Ilocos Sur solon faces graft raps

CHARGES VS BATERINA INCLUDE MALVERSATION, BRIBERY
/ 05:23 PM March 20, 2017

Former budget secretary and now Camarines Sur Representative Rolando Andaya Jr. was let off the hook after his motion for reconsideration was granted in the graft and malversation complaint against former Ilocos Sur Rep. Salacnib Baterina.

Meanwhile, Baterina was formally charged with three counts of graft, three counts of malversation and one count of direct bribery for his alleged involvement in the Janet Lim-Napoles pork barrel scam.

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The Office of the Special Prosecutor filed the charges before the Sandiganbayan against Baterina and 17 others for the alleged misuse of Salacnib’s P35 million Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) in 2007.

Andaya, the budget secretary during the Arroyo administration, was no longer included in the charge sheet even as he was earlier indicted for his issuance of the sub-allotment release orders and notice of cash allotment despite the absence of the required project profiles and implementing agencies endorsements in violation of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) National Budget Circular No. 476.

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READ: Andaya signed 33 Saros in PDAF scam

The Ombudsman said Andaya’s release of such documents “made the funds easily accessible to the Technological Livelihood Research Center (TLRC) and the bogus NGOs.”  The TLRC served as the conduit between Baterina and the bogus foundations in the scam.

According to the Ombudsman, the DBM under Andaya released P35 million of Baterina’s PDAF for livelihood and farm input projects from January to February 2007.

But the Ombudsman later granted Andaya’s motion for reconsideration because of a DBM Circular Letter he submitted clarifying the procedure for the PDAF releases.

READ: Ex-budget secretary Andaya charged over Napoles pork barrel scam

In that circular, Andaya explained that the submission of the project profiles and endorsements from the implementing agencies was no longer necessary because these were already provided in the General Appropriations Act.

The Ombudsman thus said the finding of probable cause against Andaya was no longer sustained because his indictment only stemmed from his issuance of the SAROs without project profile and endorsement from the implementing agencies.

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Andaya’s legal woes however are far from over after he was found liable for plunder, a non-bailable offense, for the P900 million Malampaya fund scam

READ: Malampaya mess: Arroyo cleared, 25 charged

While Andaya was let off the hook, former budget undersecretary Mario Relampagos and members of his staff Rosario Nuñez, Lalaine Paule and Marilou Bare were charged with one count of malversation each for allegedly accommodating Napoles and her cohorts in the speedy releases of Baterina’s PDAF.

According to the charge sheet, Baterina was charged with violations of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for acting with manifest partiality, evident bad faith and gross inexcusable negligence in endorsing to implement his PDAF projects the bogus Napoles foundations Kaagapay Magpakailanman Foundation Inc. (Kamfi) and Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc. (PSDFI).

Baterina is accused of causing undue injury to government by endorsing these foundations without the benefit of a public bidding.

Baterina was also charged with malversation of public funds punishable under the Revised Penal Code for allegedly misappropriating the PDAF for projects which turned out to be non-existent, “to the damage and prejudice of the Republic of the Philippines.”

Charged with Baterina and Napoles is another alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Godofredo Roque, who is alleged to have received the check for Baterina’s PDAF as Napoles’ representative to the foundation Kamfi.

The prosecutors said Napoles and Roque controlled the bogus foundations with two other private individuals Carlos Soriano, France Mercado and Evelyn De Leon, who were also among those charged.

Roque was accused of being Napoles’ representative to Kamfi, while De Leon was Napoles’ representative to PSDFI.

Roque is alleged to be the male counterpart of Napoles in the billion peso pork barrel scam. He was accused of operating a ring of bogus NGOs which spent pork barrel funds in ghost projects for kickbacks.

READ: Dumpit, others face graft raps over pork scam

The following TLRC officials were also charged with Baterina: Antonio Ortiz, Dennis Cunanan, Francisco Figura, Belina Concepcion, Marivic Jover, Maurine Dimaranan, and  Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana.

Lastly, former Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) chief Zenaida Ducut was charged with one count of graft and malversation each for allegedly receiving the kickbacks for Salacnib from Napoles.

Ducut and Baterina were charged with direct bribery punishable under the Revised Penal Code for allegedly receiving P3 million in kickbacks from Napoles for their participation in the scam.

The prosecutors accused them of “unjustly enriching (themselves) at the expense and to the prejudice of the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines.”

Principal whistleblower Benhur Luy said Ducut, as a former Pampanga representative, acted as an agent between Baterina and Napoles.

“Ducut was tasked by Napoles to look for lawmakers willing to deal with Napoles in connection with the PDAF scheme,” the Ombudsman earlier said.

READ: Lady solon accompanied Napoles during House pork ‘rounds’—witness | Ducut got P40M as agent for lawmakers

In finding probable cause against the respondents, the Ombudsman’s field investigation showed that Baterina’s pork barrel projects turned out to be non-existent.

The Ombudsman cited the Commission on Audit report which noted lapses in the funds use, such as the lack of public bidding in the NGO selection process, absence of documents supporting the utilization and liquidation of public funds, and the lack of list of beneficiaries.

The municipal agriculturists also denied receiving any livelihood implements, the Ombudsman said.

In the resolution indicting the officials, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said “the complaints, as well as the testimonial and documentary evidence provided details which evidence the widespread misuse of the PDAF allotted to Baterina.”

Morales added that Baterina’s multi-million PDAF “was coursed through a complex scheme for the supposed livelihood projects for the 1st district which turned out to be inexistent or ghost projects.”

The prosecutors set the bail amount for malversation at P40,000 for each count, graft at P30,000 for each count, and direct bribery at P30,000.

Known as the pork barrel scam queen, Napoles is serving a life sentence for the serious illegal detention of whistleblower Luy while facing numerous plunder charges in court. The Office of the Solicitor General however has appealed the reversal of her conviction.

Meanwhile, pending before the anti-graft court are the plunder and graft charges against former senators Ramon Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada, and Juan Ponce Enrile for their involvement in the Napoles pork barrel scam. Revilla and Estrada are detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center, while Enrile is out on bail. JE/rga

RELATED STORIES

SolGen Calida moves to acquit Napoles in illegal detention of Luy 

SolGen Calida: Injustice done to Napoles

Benhur Luy: ‘Why is the gov’t turning against us?’ 

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TAGS: Camarines Sur, Graft, Ilocos Sur, malversation, Rolando Andaya Jr., Salacnib Baterina
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