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Ex-Bukidnon solon charged in P36.9-million pork scam

/ 07:03 AM November 20, 2017

Former Bukidnon Rep. Candido Pancrudo Jr. has been charged in the Sandiganbayan in connection with the alleged misuse of his P36.9-million pork barrel funds on “ghost” livelihood projects from 2007 to 2008.

The Office of the Ombudsman on Nov. 7 indicted Pancrudo and nine others for eight counts each of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and malversation of public funds.

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According to the charge sheets, a total of P32.8 million should have been allocated in four tranches to various livelihood projects to be implemented by the nongovernment organization (NGO) Farmerbusiness Development Corp. (FDC). The said foundation was paid a total of P4.1 million in retention fees.

However, the “livelihood” projects funded by Pancrudo’s Priority Development Assistance Fund proceeds turned out to be nonexistent, according to the charge sheets signed by Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer IV M.A. Christian O. Uy.

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Prosecutors accused Pancrudo of unilaterally choosing FDC to be the project partner despite the lack of a public bidding and the lack of an appropriation law. The lawmaker also allegedly failed to monitor the implementation of his projects.

Meanwhile, the officials of the now-defunct Technology Resource Center (TRC) were faulted for processing the release of the payments without carefully examining and verifying the NGO’s accreditation and qualification, as well as the supporting documents for the transactions.

The liquidation reports submitted by FDC representative Johanne Edward Labay to the Commission on Audit were allegedly falsified.

Besides Labay, Pancrudo’s coaccused include project consultant Jesus Esmeralda and FDC representative Victorino Ujano.

The indicted TRC officials were director general Antonio Ortiz, deputy director general Dennis Cunanan, group managers Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana and Francisco Figura, chief accountant Marivic Jover, and budget officer Consuelo Lilian Espiritu.

Prosecutors recommended a P480,000 bail for each defendant.

Although the informations were dated July 10 and approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on July 12, they were only filed before the antigraft court on Nov. 7 and then raffled off to the Sandiganbayan Second Division.

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The Ombudsman in March 2016 earlier brought to the antigraft court charges involving the allocation of P7.95-million pork barrel funds to Uswag Pilipinas Foundation Inc.

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TAGS: Bukidnon pork scam, Candido Pancrudo Jr., Office of the Ombudsman
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