• Ex-Bukidnon lawmaker in PDAF case

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    Former Bukidnon Representative Candido Pancrudo Jr. and several others were charged before the Sandiganbayan over the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocation amounting to P8 million in 2008.

    The respondents are facing two counts of graft, one count of malversation, and one count of malversation through falsification.

    Court records show that Pancrudo posted bail on April 5 and his arraignment was set for April 20.

    Based on a statement issued on Wednesday, the Ombudsman, earlier denied for lack of merit the respondents’ motions for reconsideration, stressing that “[t]he indictments against them, as written in the Resolution, stand.”

    The Ombudsman also charged National Agribusiness Corporation officials Alan Javellana, Rhodora Mendoza, Maria Ninez Guañizo and Victor Roman Cacal.

    Also charged was private individual Mark Espinosa, corporate secretary of the non-government organization (NGO) Uswag Pilipinas Foundation, Inc. (UPFI).

    The Ombudsman alleged that Pancrudo “personally chose” the said NGO as a conduit of the supposed “ghost” projects funded by his PDAF.

    In its 47-page Resolution in 2015, the Ombudsman found alleged irregularities in the disbursement of Pancrudo’s PDAF.

    UPFI was allegedly chosen as a conduit for the funds without calling for a public bidding and without basis in law or ordinance, and despite its supposed ineligibility in violation of COA Circular No. 2007-001.

    Further, it alleged that the respondents facilitated the approval of vouchers and the release of P1,193,100 despite supposed inconsistencies in the supporting documents.

    The respondents also allegedly facilitated the approval of vouchers and the release of P6,760,900 with the use of supposedly falsified reports, receipts, invoices and other documents.

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