‘Lanao official guilty of funds misuse’

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Three elected officials, from the provinces of Lanao del Norte, Guimaras and Marinduque are facing allegations of misuse of public funds before the Sandiganbayan and the Office of the Ombudsman.

The Sandiganbayan has found former Mayor Bertrand Lumaque of Kolambugan, Lanao del Norte and three others guilty of technical malversation, Marinduque Gov. Carmencita Reyes is facing a petition seeking her suspension from office while a complaint was filed with the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas against Guimaras Representative Joaquin Carlos Rahman Nava.

Lumaque, the incumbent Vice Mayor of Kolambugan, were charged for the purchase of two dump trucks paid out of the budget meant for the loan repayment of the Mindanao Urban Special Services Program.

Aside from Lumaque, likewise convicted were former municipal planning and development coordinator Ruben Martinez, former councilor and Jessie Abecia, who also led the Committee on Finance and Appropriation, as well as former municipal budget officer Nancy Calacat.


The anti-graft court fined the former municipal officials P500,000. They also face temporary special disqualification to hold office.

Meanwhile, state lawyers are asking the Sandiganbayan’s Second Division to suspend Marinduque Governor Reyes from office pending litigation of the graft and illegal use of public funds/technical malversation charges filed against her and several other officials.

Reyes and other officials were implicated in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam. The Office of the Ombudsman filed the charges in 2011 alleging that P5 million of such funds that the province received were diverted and used to buy equipment from a firm without public bidding in 2004.

Reyes, who ran under the Liberal Party and won the gubernatorial race in Marinduque in 2013, pleaded not guilty to the charges on January 14, 2014.

Guimaras Rep. Joaquin Carlos Rahman Nava, a three-termer congressman in the lone district of Guimaras in Western Visayas who also served for three terms as governor and a member of the ruling Liberal Party, is also facing several charges.

Ranie Z. Jangayo Sr. a journalist and broadcaster, in his seven-page complaint filed with the Office of the Ombudman in the Visayas, alleged that the Guimaras provincial government during Nava’s term as governor incurred numerous violations of government accounting rules and other infractions as documented by the Commission on Audit (COA).

Among the complaints filed by Jangayo is the Guimaras Village Level Feedmill, which was set up by the provincial government as an income generating project using its 20 percent development plan and operates without corresponding financial management system contrary to the general provisions of the Local Government Code, thus its operation was not properly accounted for.

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