Ex-Isabela lawmaker faces criminal charges over P20M PDAF scam


MANILA, Philippines – Former Isabela representative Anthony Miranda is facing graft and malversation charges for allegedly channeling over P20 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to his own non-governmental organization.

“Miranda had treated his PDAF as if it were his own funds, dictating how it should be utilized and released," read the 41-page resolution approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.

Impleaded with Miranda are former Technology Resource Center (TRC) officials Antonio Ortiz, Dennis Cunanan, Marivic Jover, Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana, and Francisco Figura; former Legislative Liaison Officer Belina Concepcion; and Aksyon Makamasa Foundation, Incorporated (AMFI) representatives Domingo Mamauag and Edison Sabio.

The Office of the Ombudsman said in a statement on Friday, September 11, that Miranda faces graft charges for two counts each of violations of Sections 3(e) and 3(h) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and two counts of malversation for violation of Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code.

“Miranda misappropriated his PDAF amounting to P20,060,000.00 in 2007 through a scheme involving livelihood projects in his district but which turned out to be non-existent or ghost," the resolution read.

The Ombudsman said the funds were diverted to Miranda's "possession and control, through AMFI, an NGO he founded and controlled."

Securities and Exchange Commission records showed that AMFI is a non-stock and non-profit association incorporated by Miranda as chairman.

The resolution comes nearly a year after the Ombudsman announced that Miranda, along with alleged PDAF scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, former agriculture secretary Arthur Yap, and 5 former congressmen, faced preliminary investigation.  (READ: 6 more ex-congressmen face PDAF scam complaints)

Violations

The Special Audit  Office Report of the Commission on Audit revealed that upon Miranda's request, the Department of Budget and Management released P10 million and P11 million to the TRC between January 15 and February 23, 2007.

Miranda then sent letters to TRC endorsing AMFI as NGO-implementor of livelihood projects funded by his PDAF.

On March 12 and 30, 2007, Miranda, Ortiz, and Sabio entered into separate Memoranda of Agreement  to facilitate the transfer of P9.5 million and P10 million.

The Ombudsman said that through Mamauag, Miranda allegedly received the amount comprising 95% of his PDAF on March 12, 2007, and April 2, 2007, "without submitting any progress reports or liquidation documents despite demands.

"The scheme was adopted by the respondents in violation of procurement rules which require that an NGO may be contracted only when so authorized by an appropriation law or ordinance.  Neither was public bidding conducted to determine the NGO qualified to participate in the project implementation," the resolution stated.

It added that the respondents "did not bother to conduct a due diligence audit on AMFI as to its capability and qualification to undertake the project as no documents were presented for evaluation and verification for NGO-accreditation purposes."

The MOAs entered into by the respondents did not specify the project beneficiaries and duration, provision on systems, procedures and standards for implementation and completion of the project, and the schedule of fund releases.

Instead, "the MOA granted full responsibility to AMFI in the disposition/disbursement of Miranda’s PDAF," the resolution said.
The Ombudsman said that to date, the P20 million PDAF remains  unliquidated.

Upon the orders of Morales, the Anti-Money Laundering Council will be furnished with the copy of the Joint Resolution "for its immediate action for possible violations of the Anti-Money Laundering Act," the Ombudsman said. – Rappler.com