The Sandiganbayan’s Third Division has found basis to try the graft and malversation charges against former Davao del Sur Rep. Marc Cagas 4th and several others in connection with the P5.4-million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.
The Office of the Ombudsman filed the cases earlier this year alleging that Cagas “unilaterally chose and indorsed” the “unaccredited and unqualified” Farmerbusiness Development Corporation (FDC) as project partner in implementing PDAF-funded livelihood and development projects for villages in Davao del Sur’s First District which turned out to be non-existent.
Cagas, who is out on bail, argued that selecting a partner non-government organization (NGO) in implementing the PDAF projects was not part of his official duty.
He said his supposed signature on the letter that specified the NGO was forged, and that his PDAF never passed through his hands.
But the court ruled that his arguments are best left for the court to resolve after a full-blown trial on the merits.
Also named respondents were Vanie Semillano, then-project consultant of the House of Representatives; former Technology and Livelihood Resource Center Director General Antonio Ortiz; then-Deputy Director General Dennis Cunanan;, then-Manager Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana of the Technology and Livelihood Information Dissemination Services Group; then-Budget Officer Consuelo Espiritu; and then-Chief Accountant Marivic Jover.
Johanne Labay, Arnolfo Reyes and Aileen Carrasco were also included as respondents.