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Pork scam: Sandiganbayan affirms ex-North Cotabato lawmaker’s conviction

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has affirmed the conviction of former North Cotabato representative Gregorio Ipong in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam.

In a six-page resolution dated Nov. 18 and released on Tuesday, the anti-graft court’s sixth division denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Ipong and Marivic Jover, former chief accountant of the defunct state firm Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC), to reverse its Sept. 13 decision.

Ipong and Jover as well as TLRC deputy director general Dennis Cunanan were sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for graft and 17 years for malversation.

The case stemmed from Ipong’s unilateral endorsement to TLRC of a foundation to implement livelihood projects in his district out of his PDAF without public bidding.

The court said the prosecution was able to prove beyond reasonable doubt the criminal culpability of Ipong and Jover.

In his appeal, Ipong said the court erroneously considered his endorsement of Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc. as an act that manifested partiality and gross inexcusable negligence.

He said his letter-endorsement and the release of funds fell short of the required proof to establish criminal liability.

Jover, meanwhile, maintained that there was no conspiracy with her co-accused as alleged in the original information.

“The court had ruled that the evidence on record unequivocally established the elements of manifest partiality, evident bad faith and gross inexcusable negligence,” the sixth division noted in its ruling.

PORK SCAM

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