Former Cotabato lawmaker charged in P9.6-M pork scam | Inquirer News
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‘GHOST’ PROJECTS

Former Cotabato lawmaker charged in P9.6-M pork scam

/ 02:29 AM May 12, 2017

Former Cotabato Rep. Gregorio Ipong has been charged at the Sandiganbayan in connection with the alleged misuse of his P9.6-million pork barrel funds 10 years ago.

Ipong and four others face one count each of graft and malversation for allegedly diverting the funds to the “ghost” projects of Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc. (Afpi).

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His coaccused were three officials of what was then known as Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC): former Director General Antonio Ortiz, former Deputy Director General Dennis Cunanan and chief accountant Marivic Jover. Also charged was Afpi president Alfredo Ronquillo.

According to the charge sheets, Ipong in April 2007 unilaterally chose Afpi as the partner nongovernment organization for the projects without benefit of public bidding. Afpi was also unaccredited and unqualified to take on the projects.

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TLRC, the implementing agency of the projects, processed and approved the release of the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) allocation through disbursement voucher no. 012007040631 and Landbank check no. 850443.

Prosecutors said the state corporation’s employees did not carefully examine and verify Afpi’s qualifications and the supporting documents for its transactions.

Ronquillo also allegedly failed to submit liquidation reports despite a demand by the Commission on Audit.

Thus, the five individuals were accused of causing undue injury to the government and giving unwarranted benefits to a private party in violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. They were also charged with misappropriating public funds in violation of Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code.

Prosecutors recommended that bail be set at P70,000 for each accused.

Ipong served as a three-term congressman from 1998 to 2007. He was also elected to three consecutive terms as vice governor beginning 2010 and his current and last term was supposed to end in 2019.

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TAGS: Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc., former Cotabato Rep. Gregorio Ipong, Philippine news updates, pork barrel funds
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