Former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, former Speaker Prospero Nograles and former lawmakers Candido Pancrudo Jr. and Thomas Dumpit Jr. face preliminary investigation at the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged misuse of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel totaling P163.2 million.
“The filing of this set of complaints is the result of the field investigation conducted on the PDAF scam as early as July 2013 when Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales motu propio initiated a fact-finding investigation in response to news reports on the pork barrel scam exposé,” the Office of the Ombudsman said in a statement on Thursday.
But according to Nograles, he was not aware of any investigation initiated by the Ombudsman.
“I have not received any notice or formal communication from them,” he said in a statement also issued on Thursday. Nograles added that he is retired “and now a private citizen and not public property.”
Officials from various implementing agencies (IAs) and non-government organizations (NGOs) were included in the charge sheet for preliminary investigation.
The officials are from the National Agri-Business Corp. (Nabcor), National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC) and the Technology Resource Center (TRC, formerly known as Technology and Livelihood Resource Center).
Also included were officials from NGOs Kabuhayan at Kalusugan Alay sa Masa Foundation Inc., Buhay Mo Mahal Ko Foundation, Gabay at Pag-asa ng Masa Foundation Inc., Kasangga sa Magandang Bukas Foundation Inc., Farmerbusiness Development Corp., Uswag Pilipinas Foundation Inc. (UPFI) and Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc.
Nograles was charged with malversation of public funds and violation of Section 3(e) of of the Anti-Graft Law for allegedly misusing P47.5 million. The pork allocation was for Misamis Oriental Danilo Lagbas. Nograles acted as caretaker of the province when Lagbas died in 2008.
Besides from Nograles, also facing criminal and administrative charges are Lagbas’ former aide Jennifer Karen Lagbas and former chief political affairs officer Danilo Jamito.
Meanwhile, Dumpit was also charged with graft for the allegedly illegal disbursement and misuse of his PDAF allocation for calendar years 2007 to 2009 totaling P66.5 million.
Yap and Elsa Walican, who is from Dumpit’s office, were included in the charge sheet.
Investigators said none of the 11 towns in the 2nd District of La Union that Dumpit represented in Congress received any farm implements or seedlings, livelihood trainings, livelihood tools or kits.
Meanwhile, Pancrudo and his project consultant Jesus Esmeralda face malversation charges for the allegedly illegal disbursement of the lawmaker’s pork barrel from 2007 to 2008 worth P49.2 million.
Five SAROs were issued for the PDAF of Pancrudo with their corresponding Advice of Notice of Cash Allocation.
Four of these were coursed through the TRC as IA, with Esmeralda as Pancrudo’s designated project consultant.
The complaint stated that “the documents gathered show the existence of conspiracy among officers of TRC and FDC and other parties and Pancrudo.”
Validation conducted through field investigation determined that the alleged listed beneficiaries did not also receive any training or livelihood kits.
“Despite the presence of ‘red flags’ or signs of fraud such as undated receipts of the suppliers of the same set of items, undated support documents, and UPFI was not based in the community where the projects ought to be implemented, the public officials processed and approved the release of funds with dubious swiftness,” the complaint said.