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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Bukidnon ex-solon, 5 others charged over pork barrel

A FORMER congressman in Bukidnon and four other government officials are facing charges after the Office of the Ombudsman found probable cause to charge them for illegally using the Priority Development Assistance Fund (Pdaf) worth P8 million.

An official of a nongovernment organization is alsp included in the charge sheet.

Two counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, one count for malversation and falsification are to be filed by Ombudsman office against former Bukidnon representative Candido Pancrudo Jr., National Agribusiness Corp. officials Alan Javellana, Rhodora Mendoza, Maria Ninez Guañizo and Victor Roman Cacal, and Uswag Pilipinas Foundation Inc. (UPFI) corporate secretary Mark Espinosa.

The charges against the respondents were filed before the Office of the Sandiganbayan.

UPFI was the NGO personally chosen by Pancrudo as a conduit of the alleged ghost projects funded by Pdaf, according to a press statement released by the Office of the Ombudsman.

In the 47-page resolution, the Ombudsman found several irregularities done by the respondents such as the choosing of UPFI without conducting a public bidding and without legal basis, failure to verify the existence of the NGO and its capacity to deliver, choosing the UPFI as conduit for the funds despite its ineligibility in violation of COA Circular No. 2007-001, facilitating the approval of vouchers and release of the P1,193,100.00 despite inconsistencies in the supporting documents, and facilitating the approval of vouchers and the release of P6,760,900.00 with the use of falsified reports, receipts, invoices and other documents.

The respondents filed a motion for reconsideration on the case which the Ombudsman junked for lack of merit.
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