• Former Bogo mayor, 4 others in graft raps

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    A FORMER municipal mayor of Bogo, Cebu and four other municipal officials are facing charges of graft in connection with the misappropriated fund amounting to P20 million intended as financial aid to farmers and fisher folks in 2007.

    Facing charge for violation of Section 3(e) of the anti-graft law on recommendation of the Office of the Ombudsman are Mayor Celestino Martinez 3rd, former Municipal Accountant Cresencio Verdida, Municipal Treasurer Rhett Minguez, Municipal Budget Officer Mary Lou Ursal, and Municipal Assistant Treasurer Julio Ursonal Jr., of the municipality (now City) of Bogo.

    Martinez 3rd and the officials allegedly conspired in releasing the P20 million public fund exclusively to members of Bogo Municipal Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BMEMPC), a private organization, through salary loans.

    The Ombudsman further said their act “caused undue injury to the government” since the fund was purportedly for agricultural and livelihood loans for farmers, fisher folks and the marginalized under the Ginintuang Agrikulturang Makamasa (GAM) program of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

    It further alleged that defendants were able to avail loans from the fund through Martinez’ supposed signing of a memorandum of agreement (Moa) with BMEMPC on behalf of the municipal government, and his supposed approval of a disbursement voucher covering the release of the P20 million to BMEMPC;

    This was done through Verdida’s supposed certification of obligation request and disbursement voucher for the release of the funds to BMEMPC; Minguez and Ursal’s supposed respective certifications on the said obligation request, and; Ursonal’s supposed approval of the loan applications of the accused and other BMEMPC members.

    Likewise, a case for alleged violation of Section 3(g) of the anti-graft law against Martinez and Ursonal was also filed for entering into a disadvantageous thru a Moa with BMEMPC dated February 12, 2007.

    The deal with the BMEMPC, of which Ursonal was then President, was a conduit for the P20 million that failed to show capability to implement the program defeating the purpose for which it was appropriated.

    Recommended bail is P30,000 for each defendant.

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