The Office of the Ombudsman is investigating former Agrarian Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes, Sen. Gregorio Honasan 2nd, former Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, former Rep. Arturo Robes of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan and several others for their alleged involvement in projects that allegedly turned out to be non-existent.
In a statement issued on Friday, the Ombudsman said it has started the preliminary investigation of the complaint against former and incumbent officials for violation of the anti-graft law and alleged malversation through falsification of public documents.
Also being investigated are former DAR Undersecretaries Narciso Nieto, Jerry Pacturan, and Teresita Panlilio; Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, Janet Lim-Napoles; former Department of Agrarian Reform employees Ronald Venancio and Rowena Agbayani; non-government office representatives Evelyn De Leon, John Raymond De Asis, Mylene Encarnacion, Simplicio Gumafelix, Eulogio Rodriguez, Evelyn Miranda, Perfecto Jaime Tagalog, Remo Bana, Michelle Imperial, Richard Tubiera, Lyngie Tubiera, Melinda Calagui, Ronald John Lim Jr. and notaries public Donato Manguiat, Editha Talaboc, Mark Oliveros, Raymond Gerardo Tansip; Robes’ wife Florida; Estrada’s former staff Pauline Therese Labayen and Rodrigo Galay
The Ombudsman’s field investigators found that in 2010 to 2011, DAR allocated P220 million for livelihood and training projects for farmers in 27 towns in Isabela, Bataan, Pampanga, Bulacan, Ilocos Norte, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Quezon, Batangas, and Pangasinan.
The Office of the Ombudsman said P20 million out of the P220 million for these projects came from the 2010 DAR regular fund allegedly released upon Honasan’s request; P100 million allegedly came from Honasan’s 2011 Priority Development Assistance Fund, and another P100 million from the 2011 regular fund, half of which was released upon Estrada’s request.
The Commission on Audit issued several notices of disallowance on the transactions because of the supposed non-existence of the projects. However, the Ombudsman said the P220 million remained unliquidated.
Under the DAR project, each town was supposed to receive P5 million to P10 million. For the livelihood and training programs to be implemented by 13 non-government organizations (NGO).
However, field verification showed that none of the projects were implemented, the Office of the Ombudsman said.
It added that documents showed a “deliberate or extensive use of falsified documents and forged signatures” to document, substantiate and justify the disbursement and use of the P220 million.
Delos Reyes, Pacturan, Relampagos, Panlilio, Venancio and Agbayani are also facing administrative adjudication proceedings for grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. REINA TOLENTINO