The Office of the Ombudsman has filed a graft complaint against former officials of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) including its former chairman, Prospero Pichay Jr., over the alleged release of P1.5 million to the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) in 2010.
NCFP’s request for financial sponsorship for a chess tournament was allegedly approved despite LWUA’s austerity measure that prohibited the release of funds for sports and cultural activities.
Also charged were former Senior Deputy Administrator and Acting Administrator Emmanuel Malicdem and former Acting Deputy Administrator for Investment and Financial Services Wilfredo Feleo.
Based on the charge sheet, Feleo allegedly “favorably recommended” the approval of NCFP’s request for sponsorship for the Chairman Prospero Pichay Jr. Cup International Chess Championship “in clear disregard of the LWUA management’s suspension of outlay/expenditure for all sports and cultural activities as an austerity measure.”
Malicdem allegedly approved the NCFP’s request.
“The above acts by the accused public officials thus allowed the diversion of said public funds to NCFP’s control and benefit, when, in fact, said private organization was not entitled to the aforesaid sponsorship grant; rather, the concerted approval and release of the funds was intentionally done to favor Pichay, to the prejudice of the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines,” the charge sheet stated.
The Ombudsman recommended P30, 000 bail for the respondents’ provisional liberty.