Ex-Davao lawmaker faces PDAF charge

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THE Office of the Ombudsman filed graft and malversation charges before the Sandiganbayan against former Rep. Arrel Olaño of Davao del Norte in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

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Olaño was charged along with Janet Lim-Napoles; Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Undersecretary Mario Relampagos and then-DBM employees Rosario Nuñez, Marilou Bare and Lalaine Paule.

Also facing charges were former Technology Resource Center (TRC) Director General Antonio Ortiz and former TRC Deputy Director General Dennis Cunanan, as well as their former employees Francisco Figura, Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana, Marivic Jover, Maurine Dimaranan, and Consuelo Lilian Espiritu.

Private individuals Mylene Encarnacion, Evelyn de Leon, and Eulogio Rodriguez were also indicted.

The Ombudsman alleged that Olaño chose the Countrywide Agri and Rural Economic and Development Foundation (Cared) as well as the Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc. (PSDFI), all non-government organizations supposedly run by Napoles, as project partners in the implementation of his PDAF-funded livelihood projects for the first district of Davao del Norte in 2007.

However, the funds were allegedly diverted to Napoles’ control and benefit and the projects turned out to be nonexistent, based on the charge sheets.

The Ombudsman also alleged that Olaño received supposed kickbacks from Napoles.

In addition, Olaño is facing a direct bribery case for allegedly receiving P3.175 million from Napoles in consideration for choosing the said NGOs to implement three PDAF-funded livelihood projects worth P8.5 million.

The Ombudsman recommended P30,000 bail for each of the respondents’ provisional liberty in the graft cases and P40,000 in malversation charges.

It also recommended a P20,000 bail bond for Olaño in the direct bribery case.

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