The Office of the Ombudsman has found sufficient grounds to file graft charges against former Rep. Thomas Dumpit Jr., of La Union’s (Pangasinan) 2nd district and several others over the alleged anomalous use of his P66.5-million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocation in two years since 2007.
The Ombudsman also found probable cause to file nine counts of malversation through falsification of public documents, and six counts of malversation against the respondents before the Sandiganbayan.
Named respondents with Dumpit were former Technology Resource Center (TRC) head Antonio Ortiz; TRC employees Ma. Rosalinda Lacsamana, Francisco Figura, Consuelo Espiritu, and Marivic Jover, and; then-National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC) president Gondelina Amata, as well as NLDC employees Ofelia Ordoñez, Emmanuel Alexis Sevidal, Chita Jalandoni, Gregoria Buenaventura, Sofia Cruz, and Filipina Rodriguez.
Also included in the charge sheet were Helen Chung, Pio Ronquillo, Bernadette Cabrera, Aurora Trinidad, Isabel Borja, Roderick Estacio, Analyn Bonifacio, Maricel Jacob, Morrys Ang, Fe Magtira, Reynaldo Guevara, Luisita Sese, Al Ablaza, Alejandro Orpillo, Flerida Alberto, Marilou Antonio, Carmelita Barredo, Godofredo Roque, Rodrigo Doria, Mariflor Villanueva, Elsa Walican, Maria Paz Vega, Evelyn Sucgang, Ma. Neriza Gador, Lilibeth Aloot, Emilio Estaloza Cresencio Palway, George Roque, and Joel Soriano.
The Ombudsman found basis in the audit report submitted by the Commission on Audit (COA) that Dumpit received a PDAF allocation totaling P66.5 million from 2007 to 2009 for projects such as the distribution of livelihood training kits, business clinics, market development, livelihood training, distribution of instructional and livelihood materials, grafted seedlings, hand tractors, water pumps, manicure sets, hairdressing kits and sewing machines.
However, field verification found that these projects, supposed to benefit the constituents of La Union’s second district, were merely “ghost projects”.
The Ombudsman alleged that no kits were distributed and no trainings conducted, and that the documents submitted to support the liquidation of the funds were all fabricated.
A statement it issued on Friday said its investigators who went to La Union validated reports that the listed beneficiaries received no kits, seedlings or trainings.
“Many of the purported beneficiaries whose names appeared on the list of beneficiaries are not even residents or registered voters of La Union. Public officials interviewed by investigators certified that they were not recipients of the projects. Suppliers also denied issuing receipts and invoices used in the liquidation reports,” the Ombudsman said.
The Ombudsman said Dumpit allegedly identified the NLDC, Nabcor, and TLRC as implementing agencies.
He also allegedly endorsed non-government organizations (NGO) as project partners in the implementation of his PDAF-funded projects – Aaron Foundation of the Philippines, Inc. (AFPI), Kabuhayan at Kalusugan Alay sa Masa Foundation (KKMFI), and Kasangga sa Magandang Bukas Foundation, Inc. (KMBFI).
“[N]oteworthy is the extraordinary accommodation extended to the [NGOs] in the examination, processing and approval by the concerned [IAs] in the PDAF releases,”Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said.
Citing a Supreme Court ruling, the Ombudsman said “that in a congressional pork barrel system, it is the legislator who exercises actual control and custody of the PDAF share.”