• Ex-North Cotabato lawmaker seeks dismissal of ‘pork’ cases


    DISMISSED North Cotabato Vice Governor Gregorio Ipong is asking the Sandiganbayan’s Sixth Division to throw out the graft and malversation cases filed against him and four others over the alleged misappropriation of P4.9-million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in 2007 when he was the congressional representative of the province’s second district.

    The defense said the Office of the Ombudsman charged Ipong 10 years after the offense was allegedly committed in 2007.

    “Based on the foregoing arguments, considering that there was violation of accused Ipong’s constitutional rights to due process, speedy disposition of his case and/or speedy trial and violation of the constitutional right of the accused to be informed of the nature and cause of accusation against him, the cases against accused Ipong must be dismissed. Further, considering that the facts charged in the Information do not constitute an offense, the said Information must be quashed,” the defense said in an omnibus motion.

    The Information referred to here are the charge sheets.

    “The allocation for the livelihood project intended to be realized through AFPI was released to TLRC…Therefore, accused Ipong was not in charge of the public funds but merely an endorser of the livelihood project,” the defense said.

    “As discussed above, there is nothing irregular in indorsing AFPI as his chosen NGO,” it argued, adding that under Commission on Audit Circular Nos. 95-003 and 96-003, “which are the circulars applicable at that time, it is the duty of [then-]government agencies such as TLRC to evaluate the said NGO and their submitted documents and accredit them, if acceptable. Aside from making the indorsement letter and the signing of the MOA, accused Ipong is not part of the implementation as it is an executive function by the TLRC…,” it argued.

    MOA is memorandum of agreement. REINA LEANNE C. TOLENTINO



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