Ex-Cebu lawmaker, son charged with graft

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The Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) filed malversation and graft charges against former Cebu representative Clavel Martinez (Fourth District) and seven others for allegedly misappropriating P15 million in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.

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Also charged at the Sandiganbayan were Martinez’s son, former Bogo City Mayor Celestino Martinez 3rd, former municipal treasurer Rhett Minguez, municipal accountant Cresencio Verdida, Girl Scouts of the Philippines (GSP) Executive Director Alejandrita Meca, treasurer Paz Radaza, cashier Julieta Quiño and bookkeeper Rhodariza Kilantang.

“[A]ll the elements required in both charges are present and there is no denying that respondents conspired with each other through evident bad faith and gross
inexcusable negligence to defraud public funds,” the OMB said in its complaint.

The P15 million was supposed to be used in an anti-drug campaign but only P600,000 went to the GSP while the rest was pocketed by Rep. Martinez, the Ombudsman said.

“[The] release of funds to [GSP-Cebu City] gave respondent Martinez unwarranted benefits, consenting and allowing her to take full control of the funds thereafter misappropriating [them],” the OMB added.

“Mayor Martinez 3rd, Minguez and Verdida had utterly disregarded the proper procedure in disbursing the PDAF. It cannot be overlooked that by reason of their office and duties, they have control over and are accountable for the funds,” it said.

“[T]hey should have demanded the program of works and/or memorandum of agreement (MOA) showing the activities by the GSP for its anti-drug campaign program, to ensure the legitimacy of all the disbursements,” the Ombudsman added.

According to the OMB, case records show that on November 19, 2001, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Cebu passed Resolution 2643-2001 calling on the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts of the Philippines-Cebu Council (BSP-CC/GSP-CC) to include the enforcement of anti-drug campaign in their programs. The campaign will be funded by the pork barrel of Martinez.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released P15 million on May 13, 2002 under Special Release Allotment Order (Saro) ROCS-02-01767.

But the OMB found that the two transactions made were not in GSP-CC’s monthly financial report nor were they pre-audited by the internal auditor. Also, the allotment and obligation slips of Bogo, Cebu, were allegedly not supported by programs of work and/or documents showing GSP’s related activities.

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