Ombudsman raps ex-Bukidnon solon, 5 others for PDAF scam

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) on Wednesday charged former Bukidnon Rep. Candido Pancrudo, Jr. and five others with two counts of violations of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act”, one count each of malversation and malversation through falsification, for illegally using the Php 8-million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allotted for Pancrudo’s congressional district in 2008.

Facing trial with Pancrudo before the Sandiganbayan are National Agribusiness Corporation officials Alan Javellana, Rhodora Mendoza, Maria Ninez Guañizo and Victor Roman Cacal, and Mark Espinosa, corporate secretary of Uswag Pilipinas Foundation, Inc. (UPFI), the non-government organization (NGO) which Pancrudo personally chose as a conduit of the “ghost” projects funded by his PDAF.

In a 14-page order released on Wednesday, the Ombudsman denied the motions for reconsideration (MRs) filed by the respondents for lack of merit.

“The indictments against them, as written in the Resolution, STAND,” Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said on Wednesday.

In the 47-page resolution issued by the Ombudsman in 2015, several irregularities were found to have attended the disbursement of Pancrudo’s PDAF, among them included the choice of UPFI as conduit without the benefit of a public bidding and without basis in law or ordinance; failure to verify UPFI’s existence or capacity to deliver;

UPFI was chosen as conduit for the funds despite its ineligibility in violation of COA Circular No. 2007-001; respondents facilitated the approval of vouchers and the release of Php 1,193,100 despite inconsistencies in the supporting documents; and respondents facilitated the approval of vouchers and the release of Php 6,760,900 with the use of falsified reports, receipts, invoices and other documents. PNA/northboundasia.com