• 2 lawmakers, governor in trouble over ‘pork’

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    Criminal and administrative charges were filed on Friday at the Office of the Ombudsman against two lawmakers and a governor for allegedly releasing their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel to ghost beneficiaries.

    Martin Badulis Dino, chairperson of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) filed charges of malversation, grave abuse of discretion and grave misconduct against Reps. Catalina Leonen Pizarro of ABS party-list and Michael Angelo Rivera of 1-CARE party-list, Isabela Gov. Faustino Dy and at least nine other government officials.

    Dino said the two lawmakers poured P25 million of their pork barrel to the provincial government of Isabela for its social services projects.

    The VACC however said investigation by the Commission on Audit (COA) revealed deficiencies in the disbursement of the P25 million such as lack of competitive bidding and urgency of procuring food and groceries.

    Moreover, the disbursement vouchers for P10 million were signed even without supporting documents. It was later found out that the supposed beneficiaries of the PDAF – the municipalities of Alicia, Angadanan, Burgos, Gamu and San Guillermo — did not receive any allocation.

    Dino said Dy and the rest of the provincial officers virtually admitted to their crime because the governor issued a certification that the P25 million has been returned to the national coffers, meaning the fund was initially disbursed.

    “This is tantamount to admission that indeed, the subject funds were disbursed, misappropriated and malversed. The fact that it was returned does not cure the defect,” Dino said.

    “The forbidden act has been consummated and the replenishment of fund will not in any way undo what has been done,” he added.

    Dino urged Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to suspend Pizarro and Rivera “considering the real and present danger that they will use their office to destroy evidence or otherwise disrupt or impede the investigation.”

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