Cebu City mayor faces new raps over Pagcor funds
- by Freeman News Service () - May 13, 2000 - 12:00am

CEBU CITY -- Just a day after basking in his victory in the city council's takeover, Mayor Alvin Garcia now finds himself facing another problem.

The Office of the Ombudsman has upgraded its probe of the mayor and other top City Hall officials to criminal and administrative complaints in connection with the alleged misappropriation of P12 million from the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).

The anti-graft office found the city government to have violated Pagcor guidelines when it allocated more than P5 million of Pagcor funds for the Special Program for Employment of Students in 1996.

The city receives P3 million a month from Pagcor as its share from the operation of gambling casinos, but the state gaming agency has specific guidelines on how the money is to be spent by the host city.

Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Nicanor Cruz approved the inquiry initiated by associate graft investigator Marites Soon after initial findings revealed the alleged misappropriation of Pagcor funds.

"The Pagcor-funded projects totaling P12,306,373.35 appear not to fall under any of the projects authorized by Pagcor," Soon said in her final evaluation report approved by Cruz.

The anti-graft office recommended the upgrading to criminal complaints with respect to the alleged misappropriation of Pagcor funds after the city council approved Resolution 1879, sponsored by councilor Michael Rama, allocating P487,950 for salaries and other expenditures of the special education program.

Another appropriation scrutinized by COA was the allocation of P12,306,373.35 for various projects charged under the same fund.

COA regional director Linda Solite advised Garcia to specify the projects and their respective disbursements in accordance with the guidelines of the funding agency to avoid ambiguity.

Among those facing administrative and criminal complaints aside from Garcia are Vice Mayor Renato Osmeña, councilors Ronald Cuenco, Laurito Malinao, Rogelio Osmeña, Ananias Ouano, Michael Rama, Felixberto Rosito and Fe Mantua-Ruiz.

Also included are former city councilors Jessie Aznar, Ruben de la Cerna, Christopher Alix, Manuel Concepcion, Rico Rey Holganza, Gabriel Leyson, Arnulfo Ravina and Charles Vailoces.

ANANIAS OUANO CHRISTOPHER ALIX CITY CITY HALL DEPUTY OMBUDSMAN EMPLOYMENT OF STUDENTS FELIXBERTO ROSITO AND FE GABRIEL LEYSON GAMING CORP MICHAEL RAMA PAGCOR
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