Ex-Negros Oriental lawmaker, 6 others in trouble over ‘pork barrel’

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THE Office of the Ombudsman has found basis to file graft and malversation charges at the Sandiganbayan against former Rep. Herminio Teves of Negros Oriental (3rd District) in connection with his 2007 Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Also facing indictment were his then-chief of staff Hiram Pulido, and the following individuals who are formerly from the Technology and Livelihood Resource Center: (TLRC) Antonio Ortiz, Dennis Cunanan, Marivic Jover, Belina Concepcion, and Francisco Figura.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Ombudsman investigators found documents showing that the former lawmaker’s P10-million PDAF — which was meant for livelihood projects — was allegedly used to fund “ghost” projects.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales was quoted as saying that “certainly, this illegal conversion and transfer of public funds to the Molugan Foundation, purportedly for projects which did not actually exist, represent quantifiable pecuniary losses to the government constituting undue injury within the context of Section 3(e) of RA 3019.”

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Republic Act 3019 is the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

According to the statement, Teves allegedly requested the release of a fourth tranche of PDAF in December 2006 and allegedly “selected the TLRC as implementing agency and the Molugan Foundation, Inc., as conduit non-government organization (NGO).”

“It was also later determined that the Molugan Foundation did not have the capacity to implement the project as it was incorporated only in 2007, the year it was tasked to implement the PDAF project. Field investigators also found that no public bidding was conducted and that the NGO’s place of incorporation and the whereabouts of its incorporators both yielded negative results,” the statement said in part.

In defense, Teves said that “his signatures appearing in various documents linking him to the transactions were products of forgery.” MA. REINA LEANNE C. TOLENTINO

 

 

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