• Ex-Bacolod lawmaker in trouble over game funds

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    THE Office of the Ombudsman has found basis to file graft and malversation cases before the Sandiganbayan against former Bacolod Rep. Monico Puentevella in connection with his alleged failure to account for about P21.5 million in funds spent for the 2005 South East Asian Games (SEA Games).

    The Ombudsman’s ruling is subject to a motion for reconsideration.

    In a statement on Tuesday, the Ombudsman said it found that the Department of Budget and Management issued a Special Allotment Release Order amounting to P50 million in August 2005 to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for the hosting of the 23rd SEA Games in Bacolod City.

    The PSC transferred the fund through checks payable to the Bacolod South East Asian Games Organizing Committee (Basoc) and/or Puentevella.

    After the event, the Commission on Audit (COA) sent several letters to Basoc and/or Puentevella from 2008 to 2009 requiring the fund’s settlement but the P21.56 million allegedly remained unsettled as of 2011.

    The Ombudsman said “the documents for the unliquidated amount were not approved by COA-PSC since these consisted of personal vouchers of respondent Puentevella and mere photocopies of invoices or contracts. The COA-PSC had already made demands on respondent to settle or liquidate the financial assistance through two letters dated January 16, 2009 and March 24, 2009. However, respondent failed to comply.”

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