THE Office of the Ombudsman is poised to file criminal charges against five former members of the House of Representatives who allegedly received kickbacks from projects funded by their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.
A well-placed source has told The Manila Times that the anti-graft body is preparing the complaints to be filed before the Sandiganbayan against former Representatives Rodolfo “Ompong” Plaza of Agusan del Sur, Samuel Dangwa of Benguet, Constantino Jaraula of Cagayan de Oro City, Edgar Valdez of the Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC) party-list and Rizalina Seachon-Lanete, now the governor of Masbate.
The five former lawmakers were named co-respondents of alleged pork barrel scam brains Janet Lim-Napoles.
The source said a draft resolution upholding the Ombudsman’s initial finding of probable cause against the ex-lawmakers is being completed before being signed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.
The resolution denies a motion for reconsideration filed by the respondents who were accused of channeling their pork barrel to non-government organizations owned or controlled by Napoles.
The source explained that issuance of the resolution will pave the way for the filing of the criminal complaints before the Sandiganbayan.
The Times source said two of the lawmakers–Lanete and Valdez—will be charged with plunder while the others will be indicted for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act or Republic Act 3019.
The complaints against the five were filed by the National Bureau of Investigation.
Lanete was charged along with her aide Jose Sumalpong for the allegedly anomalous use of her P112.29 million PDAF from 2007 to 2009. The money was intended for livelihood and agricultural projects but it never reached beneficiaries.
The Ombudsman’s initial resolution said that based on pork scam witness Benhur Luy’s ledger, Lanete received kickbacks of P108,405,000.
Valdez, meanwhile, was accused of receiving P57,787,500 in kickbacks from 2004 to 2010.
His pork barrel was supposed to be used for livelihood projects, farm inputs, agricultural starter kits technology transfer training, vegetable seeds, gardening packages, sprayers and fertilizers.
In a news conference at the Office of the Ombudsman, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said malversation charges will be filed against Dangwa, Plaza and Jaraula because because their supposed kickback from Napoles amounted to less than P50 million.
Only senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. have been charged with plunder before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the pork barrel scam.