Ex-lawmakers face raps over ‘pork’ scam

Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - April 6, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -  Two more former lawmakers are facing charges in connection with the pork barrel scam.

Former North Cotabato congressman Gregorio Ipong was recently ordered charged with graft and malversation of public funds before the Sandiganbayan over the release of P5 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel in 2007 to Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc. (AFPI) without public bidding.

Graft probers said the projects were not implemented, adding that AFPI was not accredited and had no business permits from 2004 to 2009.

Former Technology Resource Center director general Antonio Ortiz, deputy director general Dennis Cunanan and chief accountant Marivic Jover were included in the charge sheet.

Last January, the Office of the Ombudsman ordered the filing of charges against Ipong over the alleged anomalous utilization of P9.4 million of his PDAF also in 2007.

Ipong was dismissed as North Cotabato governor in November after he was found guilty of grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service in connection with another PDAF case amounting to P10 million.

Meanwhile, two counts of graft and two counts of malversation of public funds were filed on Monday against former Eastern Samar congressman Teodulo Coquilla for the alleged misuse of P4.85 million of his PDAF.

Graft investigation and prosecution officer Christian Uy said Coquilla conspired with officials of the defunct National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor) in allocating the money to Gabaymasa Development Foundation Inc. without public bidding.

The ombudsman said the supposed livelihood projects were found to be non-existent. Gabaymasa was not qualified to implement the projects, it added.

Nabcor president Alan Javellana, human resources and administrative manager Encarnita Cristina Munsod, chief accountant Ma. Julie Villaralvo-Johnson, general services unit head Romulo Relevo as well as Margie Luz and Ma. Cristina Vizcarra of Gabaymasa were named respondents in the case.

The ombudsman set the bail at P140,000 each.

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