• Ex-Isabela lawmaker to face charges

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    The Office of the Ombudsman has found grounds to file graft and malversation charges before the Sandiganbayan against former Rep. Anthony Miranda of Isabela’s fourth district for alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel allocation in 2007.

    Miranda allegedly channeled P20 million of his PDAF to his own non-governmental organization (NGO), Aksyon Makamasa Foundation Inc. (AMFI), for livelihood projects in his district that was allegedly non-existent.

    Also named respondents were officials from the implementing agency Technology Resource Center (TRC) former director general Antonio Ortiz, former deputy director Dennis Cunanan, chief accountant Marivic Jover, group managers Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana and Francisco Figura, and former legislative liaison officer Belina Concepcion.

    Likewise named respondents were AMFI representatives Domingo Mamauag and Edison Sabio.

    “Miranda misappropriated his PDAF amounting to P20,060,000.00 in 2007 through a scheme involving livelihood projects in his district but which turned out to be non-existent or ghost,” the 41-page Resolution approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales stated.

    Also, Morales directed that the Anti-Money Laundering Council be provided a copy of the Joint Resolution “for its immediate action for possible violations of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.”

    According to the office, the Commission on Audit said in its Special Audits Office Report that the Department of Budget and Management released funds on January 15, 2007 and on February 23, 2007 to TRC upon Miranda’s request.

    “Miranda then sent letters to TRC endorsing AMFI as NGO-implementor of livelihood projects funded by his PDAF,” the office said.

    “Miranda had treated his PDAF as if it were his own funds, dictating how it should be utilized and released,” the office added.

    Through Mamauag, Miranda received the amount comprising 95 percent of his PDAF on 12 March 2007 and 02 April 2007 respectively without submitting any progress reports or liquidation documents despite demands.

    The office added that under procurement rules, an NGO may be contracted only with authority from an appropriation law or ordinance and that there was no public bidding conducted to determine the NGO. The P20-million PDAF remains unliquidated, the office said.

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