Ombudsman probes Gringo, Jinggoy over DAR fund misuse

MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman is investigating Senator Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan II, former senator Jinggoy Estrada, an ex-congressman, a former agrarian reform secretary, and 6 other officials for their alleged involvement in the misuse of P220-million funds of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

Under preliminary investigation along with Honasan and Estrada are:

In a statement on Friday, August 26, the Office of the Ombudsman said that they are being probed for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and malversation through falsification of public documents under the Revised Penal Code.

The DAR and DBM officials and employees, except Nieto, are also facing administrative adjudication proceedings for grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, serious dishonesty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. (READ: Napoles' DAR connection)

The Office of the Ombudsman said that from 2010 to 2011, the DAR allocated P220 million for livelihood and training projects for farmers in 27 municipalities in 10 provinces in Luzon.

The funds were sourced from the following:

"Each municipality was supposed to receive funds ranging from P5 to P10 million, with 13 non-government organizations (NGOs) tasked to implement the programs. Actual field verification, however, showed that none of the projects were implemented as they were 'ghost projects'," said the Office of the Ombudsman.

It added that despite several notices of disallowance from the Commission on Audit, the DAR funds remain unliquidated. (READ: Pork Tales: A story of corruption)

"Documents also showed that there was a deliberate or extensive use of falsified documents and forged signatures in order to fully document, substantiate and justify the disbursement and utilization of the P220 million," the statement continued.

Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles was likewise among the respondents being investigated, together with the following: