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Another congressman charged for P35million PDAF scam
« on: August 14, 2016, 12:16:39 AM »
Another lawmaker charged for P35million PDAF scam; Former DBM Secretary Andaya also faces charges

          Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has ordered the filing of charges against former Representative Salacnib Baterina of the 1st district of Ilocos Sur for his involvement in the anomalous utilization of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) released in 2007.   Baterina is facing three counts of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), three counts of Malversation and one count of Direct Bribery.

           In-depth investigation found that from January to February 2007, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released a total of P35million as part of Baterina’s PDAF supposedly to fund livelihood and farm input projects for his constituents.  Baterina identified and requested the implementation of projects be coursed through the Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc. (PSDFI) and the Kaagapay Magpakailanman Foundation, Inc. (KMFI) as NGO-implementors. He also requested that the funds be downloaded to the Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) as implementing agency.

           Field investigation, however, revealed that none of the projects were implemented and thus considered as “ghost” projects.   Whistleblower Benhur Luy stated that Janet Lim Napoles gave commissions worth over P7.5million to Baterina and that it was Zenaida Ducut “who facilitated the transaction by acting as agent of Napoles for Baterina.  Ducut was tasked by Napoles to look for lawmakers willing to deal with Napoles in connection with the PDAF scheme.”

           For its part, the Commission on Audit observed lapses in the utilization of the fund, such as the lack of public bidding in the NGO-selection process; absence of documents  supporting the actual utilization and liquidation of public funds; and  the lack of list of beneficiaries, official receipts with municipal agriculturists in 11 municipalities denying receipt of any livelihood materials or farm inputs.

            According to Ombudsman Morales, “the complaints, as well as the testimonial and documentary evidence provided details which evidence the widespread misuse of the PDAF allotted to Baterina.”  She added that Baterina’s multi-million PDAF “was coursed through a complex scheme for the supposed livelihood projects for the 1st district which turned out to be inexistent or ghost projects.”

           Also ordered charged are former DBM Secretary Rolando Andaya, Jr., Napoles, Ducut, Antonio Ortiz, Dennis Cunanan, Maria Rosalina Lacsamana, Marivic Jover, Francisco Figura, Maurine Dimaranan, Mario Relampagos, Rosario Nuñez, Lalaine Paule, Marilou Bare, Evelyn De Leon, Belina Concepcion, Carlos Soriano, France Mercado and Godofredo Roque.

          Andaya was charged as then DBM Secretary “for his issuance of the subject Sub-Allotment Release Orders and Notices of Cash Allotment even if the required project profiles and endorsements from the implementing agencies were not obtained in violation of DBM National Budget Circular No. 476, thus making the funds easily accessible to the TLRC and bogus NGOs.”

       Ombudsman Morales also ordered the filing of charges for Corruption of Public Officials (Article 212, Revised Penal Code) against Napoles.

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