FORMER Cebu second district congressman Pablo Garcia yesterday filed graft complaints against Gov. Hilario Davide III, Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale and Provincial Legal Officer Orvi Ortega before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas.
Garcia, also a former House deputy speaker, accused the Capitol officials of technical malversation of public funds, falsification of public documents and violation of the anti-graft law for allegedly releasing illegally a portion of his pork barrel funds worth P72.87 million for their own projects and programs in 2015.
“This is an unmitigated, deceitful and diabolical emasculation and falsification of the decision of the Supreme Court as to give it vastly different meaning and implication,” read Garcia’s complaint.
In a text message, Davide said the complaint is “baseless and preposterous.”
“Nangita na pud og media attention. Basin magpa-Guinness Book of World Records sila sa pag-file og walay hinungdan nga mga kaso (They’re seeking media attention. They want a world record for filing the most number of useless cases),” said Davide.
This case developed after Davide and Magpale allegedly released the P38.35 million, out of the P72.87 million, sourced from Garcia’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (Pdaf), for their own programs and projects last year.
At least P56.3 million of the congressman’s Pdaf in 2013 went to a trust fund in the Capitol’s account. But Garcia lamented that Magpale withheld the checks intended for towns and barangays in the province’s second district.
In 2013, Ortega said, Garcia’s pork barrel, which was released within the fiscal year 2010 and 2012, was not affected by the Supreme Court’s restraining order that froze all Pdaf releases in the year 2013. Ortega said the Capitol served as the implementing agency of the Pdaf, which was placed in a trust fund and considered as a continuing appropriation.
In his complaint, Garcia, however, said the High Court enjoined permanently the release and disbursement of all pork barrel funds, not only for 2013 but for all previous years. Thus, the pork barrel funds should be returned to the National Treasury as unappropriated surplus of the general fund.
“Yet, believe it or not, the Province of Cebu, through respondents, oblivious and in total disregard of the decision of the Supreme Court, did not stop in illegally using and disbursing the Pdaf funds of the complainant for their own project and programs,” said Garcia.
As of December 2015, Garcia said only P38,358,237 remained of his pork barrel. This means the respondents “illegally disbursed” P34,519,000.
Garcia said the release of his Pdaf to fund Capitol’s projects and programs caused him and the intended beneficiaries undue injury.