Ombud indicts ex-Cebu lawmaker, 7 others over PDAF misuse

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

THE Office of the Ombudsman filed Tuesday before the Sandiganbayan criminal charges against a former Cebu lawmaker and seven other officials in connection with the alleged misused of P15 million in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

In a statement, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said that the agency has affirmed the finding of probable cause against former Cebu representative Clave Martinez, former Bogo town Mayor Celestino Martinez III, former municipal treasurer Rhett Minguez, municipal accountant Cresencio Verdida, Girl Scouts of the Philippines executive director Alejandrita Meca, treasurer Paz Radaza, cashier-designate Julieta Quiño and bookeeper Rhodariza Kilantang.

Morales said former and current Cebu officials were charged with two counts of Malversation of Public Funds and two counts of violations of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in connection with the misused of Martinez's P15 million PDAF allocations.

In November 2001, the Provincial Board of Cebu passed Resolution 2643-2001 calling the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts of the Philippines – Cebu Council (BSP-CC/GSP-CC) to include in their programs the enforcement of anti-drug campaign to be funded by the 2002 PDAF allocation of Representative Martinez who was also the president of the GSP-CC from 2000 to 2003.

The P15 million PDAF allocations were released on May 13, 2002 by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) under Special Release Allotment Order ROCS-02-01767.

Morales said reports made by GSP-CC and Commission on Audit (COA) showed that "while there was no Memorandum of Agreement between the local government of Bogo and the GSP-CC, the PDAF was released in two tranches of P7,500,000.00 each upon written request of Meca to Mayor Martinez, Representative Martinez's son."

The report said that the GSP-CC deposited the amounts immediately upon receipt and thereafter prepared the general voucher for withdrawal of the same amount, payable to cash, which was received by Representative Martinez.

The Ombudsman noted that both transactions neither appeared in the Monthly Financial Report of the GSP-CC nor were they pre-audited by the Internal Auditor.

"The Allotment and Obligation Slips of Bogo were not supported by programs of work and/or documents showing the related activities of GSP," Morales said.

She added that it was also discovered during the investigation that "all the elements required in both charges are present and there is no denying that respondents conspired with each other through evident bad faith and gross inexcusable negligence to defraud public funds."

"Mayor Martinez III, Minguez and Verdida had utterly disregarded the proper procedure in disbursing the PDAF. It cannot be overlooked that by reason of their office and duties, they have control over and are accountable for the funds” and that “they should have demanded for the program of works and/or memorandum of agreement (MOA) showing the activities by the GSP for its anti-drug campaign program, to ensure the legitimacy of all the disbursements," the investigation report read.

Morales noted that only P600,000 of the P15 million was given to GSP-CC while the rest went to Representative Martinez.

"Release of funds to GSP-CC gave respondent Martinez unwarranted benefits, consenting and allowing her to take full control of the funds thereafter misappropriating it," the report stated. (Sunnex)

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