Former House lawmaker, 5 others
face graft raps for misuse of ‘pork funds’

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THE Office of the Ombudsman has found basis to file charges of graft, malversation, and malversation through falsification of public documents against a former lawmaker at the House of Representatives and several others in connection with the alleged anomalous use of his 2008 Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel allocation.

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Facing indictment before the Sandiganbayan are Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. of Iloilo, Alan Javellana, Rhodora Mendoza, Romulo Relevo, and Ma. Julie Villaralvo-Johnson formerly from the National Agri-Business Corporation (Nabcor), as well as Marilou Antonio, then project coordinator of the Kabuhayan at Kalusugang Alay sa Masa Foundation, Inc. (KKAMFI).

In a statement issued on Thursday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said “this Office was convinced that they conspired with one another in this nefarious scheme to misappropriate public funds drawn from Tupas, Jr.’s PDAF.”

Tupas allegedly requested the Department of Agriculture in 2008 for the transfer of P5 million to Nabcor to buy hand tractors, water pumps and grafted fruit seedlings. He also allegedly recommended KKAMFI as the partner non-government organization.

But the Ombudsman said that mayors from Ajuy, Batad, Estancia, Lemery, San Rafael and Sara towns denied receiving any of the farm implements. It also found that the liquidation documents were allegedly fabricated.

 

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