MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has found probable cause to charge former La Union 2nd District Rep. Thomas Dumpit Jr. for the anomalous utilization of his 2007-2009 Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) totaling Php66.5 million.
Dumpit faces trial before the Sandiganbayan for 15 counts of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, nine counts of malversation through falsification of public documents and six counts of malversation of public funds.
Based on the audit report submitted by the Commission on Audit (COA), the Ombudsman found that from 2007 to 2009, Dumpit received a total of Php66.5 million in PDAF to fund projects such as distribution of livelihood training kits, business clinics, market development, livelihood trainings, distribution of instructional and livelihood materials, grafted seedlings, hand tractors, water pumps, manicure sets, hairdressing kits and sewing machines.
The said projects were supposed to benefit the constituents of the second district of La Union.
Upon field verification by Ombudsman investigators, it was discovered that these were “ghost projects” as no kits were distributed, no trainings conducted and that the documents submitted to support the liquidation of the public funds were all fabricated.
Ombudsman investigators were also able to validate reports that the recipients listed as beneficiaries did not receive any kits, seedlings or trainings.
Many of the purported beneficiaries whose names appeared on the list of beneficiaries are not even residents or registered voters of La Union.
Public officials interviewed by investigators certified that they were not recipients of the projects.
Suppliers also denied issuing receipts and invoices used in the liquidation reports.
Records showed that Dumpit identified the National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC), National Agri-Business Corporation (NABCOR) and the Technological Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) as implementing agencies (IAs).
Dumpit also identified and endorsed the Aaron Foundation of the Philippines Inc. (AFPI), Kabuhayan at Kalusugan Alay sa Masa Foundation (KKMFI) and Kasangga sa Magandang Bukas Foundation Inc. (KMBFI) as non-government organizations (NGOs) and recipients of his PDAF.
The Ombudsman also found that rules on procurement were repeatedly disregarded in the NGO selection process.
Ombudsman Morales said that “noteworthy is the extraordinary accommodation extended to the NGOs in the examination, processing and approval by the concerned IAs in the PDAF releases” as “in some instances, the Disbursement Vouchers were accomplished, signed and approved within a one-day interval, if not the same day.”
The Ombudsman also cited the Supreme Court (SC) ruling “that in a Congressional Pork Barrel System, it is the legislator who exercises actual control and custody of the PDAF share.”
Also included in the charge sheet are Antonio Ortiz, Ma. Rosalinda Lacsamana, Francisco Figura, Consuelo Espiritu, Marivic Jover, Helen Chung, Pio Ronquillo, Bernadette Cabrera, Aurora Trinidad, Isabel Borja, Roderick Estacio, Analyn Bonifacio, Maricel Jacob, Morrys Ang, Fe Magtira, Reynaldo Guevara, Luisita Sese, Al Ablaza, Alejandro Orpillo, Flerida Alberto, Marilou Antonio, Carmelita Barredo, Godofredo Roque, Rodrigo Doria, Mariflor Villanueva, Elsa Walican, Gondelina Amata, Ofelia Ordoñez, Emmanuel Alexis Sevidal, Chita Jalandoni, Gregoria Buenaventura, Sofia Cruz, Maria Paz Vega, Filipina Rodriguez, Evelyn Sucgang, Ma. Neriza Gador, Lilibeth Aloot, Emilio Estaloza Cresencio Palway, George Roque and Joel Soriano.
Ombudsman Morales also ordered that copies of the resolutions be forwarded to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) for appropriate action on possible violations of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA). Perfecto Raymundo Jr./PNA/northboundasia.com