The Office of the Ombudsman has filed a graft case before the Sandiganbayan against Iloilo City Rep. Geronimo Treñas in connection with the P.5-million fund he allegedly caused to be released to the Iloilo Press Club (IPC) during his term as city mayor.
The Ombudsman alleged in the charge sheet “[that]in December 2003 to January 2004, or sometime prior or subsequent thereto,” Treñas “cause[d]undue injury to the government and g[a]ve Iloilo Press Club [IPC] unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the amount of P500,000” which was supposedly “sourced from the Priority Development Assistance Fund of Senator Loren Legarda…”
Treñas allegedly “enter[ed]into a Memorandum of Agreement with IPC for the construction of the latter’s building” in Molo, Iloilo City.
He allegedly approved the release of the amount to IPC despite the fact that it was “not an accredited non-governmental organization of the Iloilo City…”
The Ombudsman further alleged that upon release of the same fund, there was failure “to monitor the implementation of the construction project and to require the liquidation of the fund, contrary to Commission on Audit (CoA) Circular No. 96-003 and CoA Audit Memorandum dated 3 February 2005, thus the building project remained unaccounted for due to lack of pertinent documents and Status Report…”
The Ombudsman recommended P30,000 bail for Treñas’s provisional liberty.
Meanwhile, the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division has denied for lack of merit a petition to dismiss the graft, malversation and falsification cases filed against former Maguindanao officer-in-charge Gov. Sajid Ampatuan and six others in connection with disbursement of P16.3 million for food purchases.
The case stemmed from the CoA findings that Ampatuan and other provincial government officials allegedly paid out the P16.3 million for the purchases from a fictitious and non-existent supplier in 2009.
Ampatuan, who is out on bail, cited an eight-year delay in the resolution of the cases, which the Office of the Ombudsman filed earlier this year.
In denying his plea, the anti-graft court pointed out that “the timeline submitted by the prosecution also indicates that accused-movant even asked and was granted extensions of time to file his counter-affidavit, thus contributing to the total period needed to finish the preliminary investigation.”
It said the preliminary investigation started only upon receipt of the letter-endorsement of then-CoA Chairman Maria Gracia Pulido Tan to the Ombudsman.
Ampatuan is facing the cases along with John Estelito Dollosa Jr., then-provincial accountant; then-Provincial General Services Officer Kasan Macapendeg, who was chairman of the Bids and Awards Committee (BaC); with then-members, Provincial Treasurer Osmeña Bandila; Provincial Administrator Norie Unas; Provincial Engineer Datu Ali Abpi; Al Haj and former OIC-Provincial Engineer Landap Guinaid,who was reportedly killed in an ambush in 2016.