• Ex-ESamar lawmaker, 6 others, in PDAF case

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    The Office of the Ombudsman said it has found valid grounds for filing graft and malversation charges against former Eastern Samar Rep. Teodulo ‘Doloy’ Coquilla and several others for their alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or the pork barrel fund.

    The other officials were named by the office of the Ombudsman as National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor) President Alan Javellana; Encarnita Cristina Munsod; Ma. Julie Villaralvo-Johnson; and Romulo Relevo.

    Also facing indictment were officials of the non-government organization (NGO) Gabaymasa – Margie Luz and Ma. Cristina Vizcarra.

    In order to implement projects funded by PDAF for the acquisition of instructional materials and seedlings for local beneficiaries, Coquilla allegedly entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) which identified Nabcor as the implementing agency and Gabaymasa as the partner NGO.

    However, the Commission on Audit (COA) found that “no fruit seedlings or instructional materials (were) distributed to beneficiaries” and that “at the time material to the charges, the suppliers did not possess the required accreditation to transact [because]it had no track record in project implementation.”

    The P5-million allocation, which the former lawmaker allegedly received in October 2007, was for the purchase of 32,887 calamundin, rambutan, chico, and mango seedlings, as well as 10,470 instructional materials intended for his constituents in the municipalities of Dolores, Maslog, Jipapad, Lawaan, and Guiuan, according to the documents.

    It was also alleged that Coquilla signed the certificate of acceptance and acknowledgment receipt for the project.

    Coquilla, however, claimed his signatures had been forged, but the Ombudsman ruled that his defense was insufficient to prove forgery.

    It was further alleged that there were gross violations of procurement rules because the suppliers were unregistered business entities with non-existent addresses.

    The Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office said it found that the supplier of seedlings was a garden shop selling rocks, pebbles, grass and landscaping services.

    It also found that the supposed supplier of the instructional materials was located in a residential area, selling car batteries and wheel interiors, instead of seedlings.

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