• Ombudsman has no jurisdiction – Villanueva

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    A defiant Sen. Joel Villanueva on Tuesday maintained that the Office of the Ombudsman cannot order his dismissal for alleged misuse of “pork barrel” funds, arguing that it has no jurisdiction over members of Congress.

    In an interview, Villanueva also pointed out that he is now a member of the Senate, but the Ombudsman’s dismissal order pertained to his supposed use of P10 million in priority development assistance funds (PDAF) when he was a member of the House of Representatives.

    Villanueva, who represented the Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) party-list in the House from 2002 to 2010, claimed the Ombudsman did not consider evidence that his signature in a letter authorizing the release of funds for agricultural supplies was forged.

    The senator was referring to the authorization letter supposedly issued on November 7, 2008, using a letterhead of the House of Representatives, authorizing the National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor) to deduct a 3-percent management fee from the total cost of the project.

    On Monday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales ordered Villanueva dismissed from public service after finding him guilty of grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service.
    Villanueva pointed out that in the purported letter, the name of the party-list he was representing was wrong – Buhay party-list instead of Cibac.

    Apart from Villanueva, also facing charges are former Agriculture secretary and now Bohol Rep. Arthur Yap; Villanueva’s former staff member Ronald Samonte; former Department of Agriculture employee Delia Ladera; former Nabcor representatives Alan Javellana, Romulo Relevo, Ma. Julie Villaralvo-Johnson, Rhodora Mendoza and Maria Ninez Guanizo; and Alfredo Ronquillo, president of Aaron Foundation Philippines, Inc.

    Aaron Foundation was allegedly the recipient of agricultural supplies funded by Villanueva’s PDAF. The deal involved the purchase of vegetable seedlings, liquid fertilizers and threshers from MJ Rickson Trading Corp. for the residents of Pantukan, Nabunturan, Tambongon, Bongabong, Napnapan, Mipangi, Anislagan and Magsaysay in Compostela Valley province.

    However, the Ombudsman found that these areas were not suitable for farming. It also found that not one of the alleged recipients was a registered voter or a resident of those towns.

    Villanueva insisted that he did not have a staff member named Roland Samonte, which the Ombudsman could easily check with House records.

    “These are the main points … these are all not part of the decision [of the Ombudsman]. They did not even bother to look,” he said.

    Villanueva, son of evangelical preacher Eddie Villanueva, maintained that he never pocketed a single centavo from his PDAF, and vowed to exhaust all legal means to clear his name.

    Villanueva headed the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority in the previous administration.

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    9 Comments

    1. Pa jurisdiction jurisdiction ka pa? Did you or did you not use DAP money for fake recipients, that is the question. As Tesda head, how did Dap money get in and out of your office without you knowing? Madaling magpa forge ng signature at gumamit ng fake letter to cover your tracks… Turo din yan sa yo ng master of tricks diyan sa dating DBM at ng kaibigan mo. I am sorry but if you are real Christian as you profess to be, you will repent and admit to the truth.

    2. This is a good “Test Case – Constitutional Crisis” for President Duterte, The President should ask the Judiciary Branch to decide the fate of Legislative branch (a Senator found guilty of malversation/corruption and yet the Senate body does not want to take legal action against their colleague). The House of Representative will not take action on the issue, reason no one filed a case against the Senator.
      If the Judiciary branch can not decide then there is an existing “Constitutional Crisis”.

    3. peter gonzales on

      It is inshrined in our constitution that the courts takes jurisdiction whenever a crime is committed. Mr. Villanueva should take cognizant of this hollowed principle in a democracy. Who do you think better judge you for your wrongdoing? Jesus is Lord you being a member of this organization.

    4. Leodegardo Pruna on

      The logic of Sen. Joel is totally absurd. When found guilty in an office, change office and you can escape being prosecuted for the offense. He better be ready because all public servants, elected or not, are covered by the Civil Service law and/or some other laws if they are found administratively or criminally liable. God bless the Philippines.

    5. When was the time the accused (Joel Villanueva) became a judge himself? Those kind of thinking by our senators reminds us they are above the law, are they? Let us get rid of them. Our world is getting closer to its end, and let us see for ourselves if it is true the arm of the law has no boundary.

    6. It seems that ombudsman Morales is being selective as usual,what happened to those who deliberately bribed and blindly accepted DAP for personal reason just to impeach the Cj Corona which the SC declared it illegal. Enough is enough.

    7. It is very surprising how this guy was able to win the senatorial election. He was already implicated on this case before, but was dismissed by the former secretary of DOJ for some flimsy justification.