TWO more plunder complaints in connection with alleged misuse of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel are waiting for final resolution with the Office of the Ombudsman.
Last October 3, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales found probable cause to charge four former lawmakers over the alleged misuse of their pork barrel allocation totaling P244.29 million.
The ex-legislators are Rizalina Seachon-Lanete of Masbate, Samuel Dangwa of Benguet, Rodolfo Plaza of Agusan del Sur and Constantino Jaraula of Cagayan de Oro City.
Named co-respondent is businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, alleged brains of the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
The cases stemmed from separate complaints filed by the National Bureau of Investigation and the Field Investigation Office of the Office of the Ombudsman.
In a joint resolution, Morales noted that “many of the names appearing on the lists as farmer-recipients were neither residents nor registered voters of the place where they were listed as beneficiaries, were fictitious or had jumbled surnames, while others were already deceased. In other words, [those]livelihood projects [supposedly funded by the PDAF]were ghost projects.”
Lanete was indicted for alleged plunder along with her aide Jose Sumalpong, Napoles and the latter’s employee John Raymund de Asis over the allegedly anomalous use of the Masbate lawmaker’s P112.29 million PDAF from 2007 to 2009.
It was intended for livelihood projects, financial assistance to farmers, farm inputs and farm implements, skills training and distribution of livelihood kits in nail care, wellness, massage and candle-making.
The joint resolution stated that “Luy’s ledger indicates that from 2004 to 2010, Seachon-Lanete received total commissions or kickbacks in the amount of P108,405,000.00 which included P73,065,000.00 received from 2007 to 2009.”
Luy is Ben-hur Luy, Napoles’ cousin who blew the whistle on the pork barrel racket.
According to the Office of the Ombudsman, field investigation revealed that Lanete’s P112.29 million PDAF was never used for the intended agricultural and livelihood projects as documents submitted such as Disbursement Vouchers, Progress and Accomplishment Reports, Fund Utilization, Inspection and Delivery Reports and Certificates of Acceptance were all fabricated.
Plaza, Dangwa, and Jaraula were indicted by the Ombudsman for alleged malversation and graft along with several others, including Napoles.
Last October 17, Morales also ordered filing of a plunder charge against former Rep. Edgar Valdez of the Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives also over alleged misuse of PDAF totaling P95 million from 2007 to 2009.
His co-respondents are Napoles and de Asis.
Citing Luy’s testimony, the anti-graft office said Valdez allegedly received kickbacks amounting to P57,787,500 from 2004 to 2010, with the payoffs allegedly usually made at the JLN (for Janet Lim-Napoles) office in Mtero Manila.
The funds were intended for livelihood projects, farm inputs and farm implements, agricultural starter kits, technology transfer training via video courses and printed materials, vegetable seeds, gardening packages, knapsack sprayers, concentrated fertilizers and tools and equipment.
Finding of probable cause against Lanete and Valdez is still up for appeal at the Office of the Ombudsman.
Responding to a query on other PDAF cases, Assistant Ombudsman Asryman Rafanan noted in a news conference called by the Office of the Ombudsman on Thursday that the office released resolutions finding probable cause against Lanete, Dangwa, Plaza, Jaraula and Valdez.
So far, plunder and graft cases were also filed by the Ombudsman before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and their respective co-defendants also in connection with the pork barrel scam.
Napoles is a respondent in three counts of plunder and 42 counts of graft as the senators’ co-accused.