Saturday, September 21, 2019

Ombud indicts 5 ex-House reps over pork barrel scam

THE Office of the Ombudsman has indicted former Muntinlupa City representative Rufino Biazon and four other former lawmakers in connection with their alleged involvement in multi-billion peso pork barrel scam.

In separate resolutions, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales affirmed the filing for malversation, graft and direct bribery charges against Biazon and former representatives Rodolfo Valencia (Mindoro Oriental), Marc Douglas Cagas (Davao Del Sur), Arrel Olaño (Davao Del Norte) and Arthur Pingoy Jr. (South Cotabato).

Biazon, a former Customs commissioner and a member of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), allegedly received P1.95 million worth of kickbacks from his alleged agent, former Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) chair Zenaida Ducut, based on financial accounts submitted by pork barrel scam primary whistleblower Benhur Luy.

Morales said based on their investigation, Biazon in 2007 endorsed P3 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allotment to the Philippine Social Foundation Inc. (PSDFI) through TRC.

PSDFI is a bogus non-government organization (NGO) controlled by alleged PDAF scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.

Ducut, who is also indicted for malversation and graft, is the alleged contact of Napoles to members of the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, Valencia allegedly channeled his P7 million PDAF allotment from 2007 to 2009 to Napoles' Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundation (MAMFI) through TRC.

Morales said the former Mindoro lawmaker allegedly got P2.4-million kickbacks from his pork barrel project in 2008 through his alleged agent, Celia Cuasay, with payoffs taking place at the JLN office.

Cagas allegedly diverted P11 million-worth of PDAF allotment to Napoles’ Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation (SDPFFI) and People’s Organization for Progress and Development Foundation (POPDFI) through TRC and National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor).

Investigation disclosed that Cagas allegedly earned P5.5 million-worth of kickbacks from 2007 to 2009 through Ducut.

Also, Olaño had allegedly received P3.175 million worth of commissions from Napoles in his alleged misuse of P7.97 million PDAF while Pingoy reportedly channeled his P20.91 million PDAF to PSDFI and SDPFFI to TRC.

Based on Luy's report, Pingoy received kickbacks worth P7.055 million from 2007 to 2008. (Sunnex)

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