Ombud probes Mindanao execs tagged in ‘pork’

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

WITH a new list of officials involved in the mishandling of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (Pdaf) or the pork barrel scam released to the Senate Blue Ribbon committee on Tuesday, the Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao said their office continues its investigation on Mindanao officials tagged in the scam.

Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao Rodolfo Elman, in text messages to Sun.Star Davao, said their investigation is still ongoing while the new list revealed by Former Senator and Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson is under investigation as well.

"Our field investigation unit is actively involved but its report or recommendation has to be collated with that of the central office for the bigger picture. Napalawak at napakaramikasi," Elman said.


But he was quick to add that while they are responsible for the investigation, the prosecution will be handled by the central office.

"Our role is to conduct field inspection, validation, evidence gathering and case buildup, taking testimonies of witnesses and everything needed to strengthen our cases against them. All out ang Ombudsman diyan. Walang sinasanto," Elman added.

Lacson on Tuesday turned over an unsigned affidavit of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles and her list of legislators and public officials allegedly involved in the scam to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. The list includes three known former and incumbent solons in Davao Region.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) in November last year has filed its second batch of malversation of public funds, graft and bribery charges against 34 officials including former congressmen Douglas Cagas and his son Marc Douglas Cagas IV of Davao del Sur (1st District) and Arrel Olaño of Davao del Norte (1st District).

Justice Secretary Leila De Lima accused the elder Cagas of coursing part of his Pdaf budget through the Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc. (PSDFI), an NGO linked to Napoles, wherein he was able to allegedly get a P9.3 million kickback.

A Commission on Audit (COA) report also revealed that Marc Cagas and Olaño earned P5.4 million and P3.1 million kickbacks, respectively.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 15, 2014.

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