Ex-lawmaker faces graft raps for P20-M ‘pork’ scam
Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - September 11, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A former Isabela lawmaker will be charged in court with graft and malversation of public funds for allegedly pocketing P20 million of his priority development assistance fund (PDAF) through a non-government organization that he himself founded and controls.

Anthony Miranda is accused of channeling the money through Aksyon Makamasa Foundation Inc. (AMFI) of which he is chairman, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Miranda, however, is nowhere to be found in his bailiwick in the fourth district of Isabela.?He has not been answering her calls, Dalisay Tolentino, Miranda’s former liaison officer told The STAR.

The last she heard of Miranda was that he was in the US, she added.

Miranda’s house in Barangay Balintocatoc has been abandoned.

His elder brother, former Santiago City mayor Jose Miranda, is serving time for the frustrated murder of former senator Heherson Alvarez’s brother in the late 1990s.?Miranda is now a pastor of Agape Church of Poway in California, according to his latest post on a Facebook public page this month.

He has yet to answer a message sent to his Facebook account to air his side on his indictment.

The Office of the Ombudsman found probable cause that Miranda misappropriated his PDAF amounting to P20,060,000 in 2007 through a scheme involving livelihood projects in his district that turned out to be nonexistent.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales approved the decision.

To be indicted with Miranda are former Technology Resource Center (TRC) director Antonio Ortiz, former deputy director Dennis Cunanan, chief accountant Marivic Jover and group managers Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana and Francisco Figura, as well as former legislative liaison officer Belina Concepcion and AMFI representatives Domingo Mamauag and Edison Sabio.

It was revealed in the special PDAF report of the Commission on Audit (COA) that in January and February 2007, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released the amount of P10 million and P11 million to TRC upon Miranda’s request. 

Miranda then sent letters to the TRC endorsing AMFI as NGO-implementor of livelihood projects that his PDAF had funded.

“Miranda had treated his PDAF as if it were his own funds, dictating how it should be utilized and released,” the Office of the Ombudsman said.

Through Mamauag, Miranda allegedly received the amount comprising 95 percent of his PDAF in March and April 2007 without submitting any progress reports or liquidation documents despite demands.

Respondents adopted the scheme in violation of procurement rules requiring that an NGO may be contracted only when so authorized by an appropriation law or ordinance, graft probers said. 

Neither was public bidding conducted to determine the NGO qualified to participate in the project implementation.

Respondents did not bother to hold a due diligence audit on AMFI as to its capability and qualification to undertake the project, as no documents were presented for evaluation and verification for NGO-accreditation purposes, the Office of the Ombudsman said.    

It was also found that the memorandums of agreement between the parties did not indicate the beneficiaries of the projects, project duration, provision on systems, procedures and standards for implementation and completion of the project.

The agreement did not also provide for a schedule of fund releases and instead “granted full responsibility to AMFI in the disposition/disbursement of Miranda’s PDAF” which remains unliquidated to date.

Morales directed that the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) be furnished with a copy of the decision to indict Miranda for its immediate action for possible violations of the Anti-Money Laundering Act. 

Enrile hearing canceled

The Sandiganbayan canceled yesterday’s scheduled pre-trial hearing of the plunder case of Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile pending final resolution of his motion for a bill of particulars before the Supreme Court. – With Raymund Catindig             


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