2 graft charges filed against Hagedorn, Palawan execs

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Two counts of malversation of public funds were filed before the Deputy  Ombudsman for Luzon against former Puerto Princesa mayor Edward Hagedorn and other local officials.

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The first complaint concerned the alleged misuse of the Local Government Support Fund (LGSF) the city received for winning the Seal of Good Housekeeping granted by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in 2011.

In a 16-page complaint-affidavit filed on April 28, retired Gen. Eduardo Matillano and Narciso Pangilinan asserted that Hagedorn and his fellow officials misappropriated the P125-million LGSF granted by then- Secretary Jesse Robredo.

Also charged in the affidavit were former city treasurer Armado Abrea, budget officer Ruben Francisco and city planning and development coordinator Jovenee Sagun.

The complaint was based on Audit Observation Memorandum 14-02 issued by the City Auditor of (Commission on Audit) COA-Team 3 dated February 21, 2014, which discovered the non-compliance of Hagedorn with the guidelines issued by DILG on the utilization of LGSF.

The DILG memorandum order stipulated that the LGSF shall be released to the local government unit (LGU) concerned as a trust fund and the recipient must submit within one week from the date of the memorandum a project proposal to the regional office of the DILG. The LGSF shall be used for the implementation of various projects such as rural electrification, local roads connecting national roads, arterial farm to market roads and bridges, local economic enterprises, flood control and drainage.

In addition, the LGSF shall be utilized as capital expenditures and shall be used to augment the LGU’s approved 2012 Annual Investment Plan (AIP). Only municipalities can spend the LGSF on medical and livelihood assistance, other social services and financial subsidy to LGUs as specified in page of the General Appropriations Act of 2011.

The COA report signed by audit team leader Renato Barcelo, State Auditor IV and supervising auditor Melchor Borja found that the city government of Puerto Princesa failed to transfer the amount granted to the trust fund account, thereby exposing the fund to misuse in the general fund. The P125-million grant—P26 million and P99 million—were deposited in the Land Bank of the Philippines-Internal Revenue Allotment Account (LBP-IRA).

It was also discovered that the approved project proposal submitted by Hagedorn to the DILG was also funded in the city’s annual budget, which resulted in double funding, while the submitted revised projects, programs and activities (PPAs) were all excluded from its 2012 approved AIP and contained non-capital expenditures totalling P47.34 million.

Moreover, Hagedorn failed to submit the report on the utilization of the P125-million fund within one month from the release of the fund.

The former Puerto Princesa mayor is also facing another criminal complaint filed by Antonio Lagrada and Wilfredo Rama for violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in connection with the procurement of sports uniforms for the city’s delegation to the Mimaroparaa Meet on February 22 to 26, 2010.

The complaint filed before the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon last April 28 claimed that based on the Notice of Disallowance 10-001-100 –(10) dated Dec. 6, 2010 and COA Decision 2013-04 on August 13, 2013, the procurement of sports uniforms did not comply with the laws, rules and regulations governing the purchase of goods of the government. The city government of Puerto Princesa purchased the uniforms from Prudence Garment Manufacturing for P2,339,596.80.

It also alleged that payment was made without submitting the disbursement vouchers for pre-audit, in clear violation of Item 4.5.3 of COA Circular 2009-002 dated May 18, 2009.

According to the complaint, no public bidding was conducted for the procurement of the uniforms as required by Section 10 of the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 9184 and the amount involved exceeded the maximum amount of P500,000 prescribed in the thresholds for shopping and small value procurement of the same IRR.

Also charged were the members of bids and awards committee which included Atty. Agustin Rocamora, Ruben Francisco, Ma. Corazon Abayari and Atty. Shirley Daganta.

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