Nueva Ecija lawmaker, ex-Agri chief charged over P15-M pork mess | Inquirer News
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Nueva Ecija lawmaker, ex-Agri chief charged over P15-M pork mess

/ 03:20 PM August 24, 2017

For the second time this month, the Office of the Ombudsman has charged Bohol 3rd District Rep. Arthur Yap before the Sandiganbayan for the alleged misuse of pork barrel funds when he was Agriculture secretary.

This time, Yap was charged in connection with the alleged misuse of former Nueva Ecija 4th Dist. Rep. Rodolfo Antonino’s P14.55-million allocation on an alleged “ghost” livelihood project in 2007.

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Two counts each of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (which prohibits officials from causing undue injury to the government and giving unwarranted benefits to private parties) and malversation of public funds were filed on Aug. 22.

State prosecutors alleged Antonino unilaterally endorsed Buhay Mo Mahal Ko Foundation, Inc. (BMMKFI) as project partner for the distribution of livelihood technology kits funded by his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) proceeds.

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The selection of BMMKFI was allegedly done without the benefit of public bidding as required by the Government Procurement Reform Act.The non-government organization was also allegedly unaccredited and unqualified to take on the project.

Still, the National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor), a now-defunct state corporation, entered into a memorandum of agreement with BMMKFI representative Marilou Antonio.

As Department of Agriculture secretary then, Yap also entered into a separate MOA with Nabcor president Alan Javellana for the purported implementation of the PDAF-funded project.

Javellana and three other Nabcor officials—Rhodora Mendoza, Encarnita-Cristina Potian Munsod and Maria Ninez Guañizo—were faulted for processing and releasing the funds in two tranches of P13.095 million and P1.455 million, without checking BMMKFI’s qualifications.

This was also despite the NGO’s alleged failure to submit the project proposal required under the MOA.

For her part, BMMKFI’s Antonio issued a receipt to Nabcor for the allegedly fictitious procurement of 7,275 sets of livelihood technology kits from Carmelita Barredo of C.C. Barredo Enterprises.

After Barredo issued the receipt for the livelihood kits, Antonino himself allegedly acknowledged the delivery in a certificate of acceptance to “conceal the fictitious nature of the transaction.”

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The said actions “allowed Antonio, through BMMKFI, to take possssion of and thus misappropriate said PDAF-drawn public funds, instead of implementing the PDAF-funded project.”

The prosecution recommended that bail be set at a total of P140,000 for the four charges.

Yap had just posted a P300,000 bail on Wednesday for the unrelated case of the misuse of former Misamis Occidental 1st Dist. Rep. Marina Clarete’s P7.76-million PDAF proceeds in 2009.

In the said case, he was charged on Aug. 8 with two counts of graft, one of malversation, and one of the complex crime of malversation through falsification.

Just like in Antonino’s case, Yap was faulted for signing a MOA with Nabcor for a livelihood project which turned out not to have been implemented by the partner non-government organization Kabuhayan at Kalusugang Alay sa Masa Foundation, Inc. (KKAMFI). JE

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TAGS: Agriculture, Arthur Yap, ghost project, Nueva Ecija, PDAF, pork barrel funds, Rodolfo Antonino
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