LUCENA CITY: Cases of conspiracy and violation of section 3 of Republic Act 3019 (the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) were filed against former congressman Lorenzo Tañada 3rd (4th District, Quezon) and three others at the Office of the Ombudsman for Luzon on April 22, 2014 over his priority development assistance fund (PDAF) from 2010-2013.
The charge of alleged malversation of public funds was filed by Potcholo Santorcas of Barangay Tanauan; Sabas Luna of Barangay Ilaya; Calixto Lopez of Barangay Central, Darwin Alvarez of Barangay Paaralan; Victor Tumagay of Barangay Tumagay; and Frisco Alcantara Jr. of Barangay Duhat, all of Plaridel, Quezon.
The joint sworn affidavits of the complainants alleged that their municipality never received this fund.
Potcholo’s group’s affidavit dated April 21, 2014 cited a letter from Tañada to then Plaridel Mayor Wilfredo Magbuhos Jr. endorsing projects in his town, including swine and carabao dispersal, sewing machines and videoke/karaoke machines dispersal as well as provisions of peace and order gadgets to barangay tanods and distribution of trophies, medals and other sports equipment.
The complainants, however, attested that these were just “ghost projects,” and were not delivered to supposed beneficiaries.
They said that the supposed livestock dispersal project cost P5,039,834.00; the barangay tanod gadgets P949,525.00 and the trophies/medals P2 million.
The group also alleged that the documents of these projects were executed by one Eleanor Reyes and did not pass legal procedure such as public bidding. Allegedly, only one company/supplier made a bid for the project, the Gregman Merchandise from Tarlac City for the barangay tanod gadgets and the educational supplies while the livestock dispersal project was bagged by Gaudencio Kasilag Cattle Trading from Padre Garcia, Batangas.
Aside from Tañada, the other three accused include former Plaridel Mayor Wilfredo Magbuhos Jr., Eleanor Reyes and Marcelo Cepeda. Reyes and Cepeda were said to be Tañada’s employees.
In a phone interview, Tañada told The Manila Times these cases are all politically motivated, designed to get back at him because his brother filed a disbarment case against lawyer Celso Escobido for notarizing election campaign papers of his brother’s opponent in the recent May 2013 elections. Escobido, Tañada said, was not authorized as a notary public and he is a partner of the alleged counsel of Potcholo’s group.