• Ombudsman to charge ex-Nueva Ecija lawmaker

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    The Office of the Ombudsman has affirmed its ruling that found basis to file graft and malversation charges against former Nueva Ecija fourth district Rep. Rodolfo Antonino and several others over the alleged anomalous use of his P15-million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocation for 2007.

    Facing indictment along with Antonino are former Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Arthur Yap (now representative of Bohol’s third district); Alan Javellana, Rhodora Mendoza, Encarnita Cristina Munsod and Maria Ninez Guañizo who were with the National Agri-Business Corporation (Nabcor); Marilou Antonio who was representative of Buhay Mo Mahal Ko Foundation, Inc. (BMMKFI) and Carmelita Barredo of C.C. Barredo Publishing House.

    The Ombudsman ruled that the motions for reconsideration filed by Antonino “are mere rehashes of the issues and claims previously raised by them and already passed upon by the Office.”

    The Ombudsman alleged that Antonino requested and directly endorsed Nabcor and BMMFKI to the DA as implementors of a livelihood training kits project in 2007.

    It added that on March 22, 2007, BMMFKI, supposedly through Antonino, exclusively procured 7,275 sets of livelihood training kits worth P2,000 each or a total of P14.55 million from C.C. Barredo.

    The Ombudsman added that upon field verification, it was found those were allegedly ghost projects because several then-local officials in Nueva Ecija denied receiving any of the livelihood training kits.

    It also alleged that no public bidding or any procurement was conducted for the project.

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