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Nation

Ex-Albay lawmaker indicted for fund misuse

Michael Punongbayan - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the filing of criminal charges against a former lawmaker of Albay for the questionable use of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) amounting to P30 million in 2007.

Anti-graft probers found probable cause to charge former congressman Reno Lim with graft and malversation along with five officials of the Technology Resource Center (TRC), two representatives of Kaagapay Magpakailanman Foundation Inc. (KMFI) and Carmelita Barredo of C.C. Barredo Publishing House.

The TRC executives were identified as Antonio Ortiz, Dennis Cunanan, Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana, Marivic Jover and Consuelo Lilian Espiritu, and the KMFI representatives as Carlos Soriano and France Mercado.

Records show that in August and November 2007, Lim requested the release of his PDAF amounting to P30 million.

The P30 million was intended to procure 8,000 sets of livelihood instructional materials and technology kits, and the request identified TRC as the implementing agency with KMFI as the non-government organization (NGO) partner.

The Commission on Audit (COA) discovered the procurement anomalous, citing the lack of public bidding and the questionable track record of KMFI.

The COA said the NGO was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission only in 2006 and had no legitimate business address.

State auditors said the KMFI had the same address as C.C. Barredo and no accreditation process was undertaken to determine the capacity of the NGO.

Investigators said no livelihood kit was delivered.

Lim questioned the authenticity of his signatures in the documents and claimed he merely followed the PDAF pre-implementation procedure.

But the ombudsman said Lim treated the fund as it was his own, dictating how it should be used and released.

ANTONIO ORTIZ

AUGUST AND NOVEMBER

BARREDO PUBLISHING HOUSE

CARLOS SORIANO AND FRANCE MERCADO

CARMELITA BARREDO OF C

DENNIS CUNANAN

KAAGAPAY MAGPAKAILANMAN FOUNDATION INC

MARIA ROSALINDA LACSAMANA

MARIVIC JOVER AND CONSUELO LILIAN ESPIRITU

OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN

PRIORITY DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE FUND

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