Ex-Misamis Occidental lawmaker Clarete charged in pork barrel scam

MANILA, Philippines – Charges against former Misamis Occidental 1st District Representative Marina Clarete were filed before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan in early August for the misuse of P65 million in pork barrel funds, the bulk of which was allegedly pocketed by questionable NGOs endorsed by her.

Also charged was Arroyo-time agriculture secretary Arthur Yap, now Bohol 3rd District Represenative, for being implicated in one of Clarete's projects supposedly implemented from 2007 to 2009. 

According to the information filed by the Office of the Ombudsman, copies of which were released to media on Thursday, August 17, Clarete funded through her pork barrel 7 projects in that period.

Clarete's charges

Clarete endorsed Kabuhayan at Kalusugang Alay sa Masa Foundation Inc (KKAMFI) for 5 projects and Kasangga sa Magandang Bukas Foundation Inc (KMBFI) and Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc (AFPI) for the remaining two.

Clarete was charged with 18 counts of graft for the alleged irregular endorsement of the non-governmental organizations or NGOs. According to Ombudsman prosecutors, NGOs were tapped without undergoing public bidding. 

Clarete faces another 7 counts of malversation for allegedly allowing NGOs to pocket a total of P62.23 million from the project cost. KKAMFI allegedly got P45.59 million,  KMBFI P11.64 million, and AFPI P5.4 million.

The amounts are what the NGOs were paid to implement the projects but they are now considered kickbacks because Ombudsman investigators found that the projects were non-existent.

On top of that, Clarete faces another 11 counts of the complex crime of malversation through falsification of public documents for supposedly approving the fabrication of liquidation, financial status and inspection reports to make it appear that the projects were real.

The Ombudsman did not recommend bail for Clarete for malversation through falsification. For her graft and malversation charges, Clarete's bail bond was set at P820,000. (READ: Almost half of PDAF goes to favored NGOs)

Arthur Yap's charges

Yap is Clarete's co-accused for two counts of graft and one count each of malversation and malversation through falsification of public documents.

Yap, who was agriculture secretary at the time, was implicated for signing a memorandum of agreement for implementing agency National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor). This was for one of KKAMFI's 5 projects amounting to P6.5 million.

The Ombudsman also didn't recommend bail for Yap's malversation through falsification charge. Yap's bail bond for the other charges was set at P100,000.

Also charged were NGO officials Marilou Antonio of KKAMFI and KMBFI, Pio Ronquillo of AFPI, and other private individuals said to be complicit in the crime: Marilou Ferrer, Allen Calma, Flerida Alberto, Maria Paz Vega, Rodrigo Doria, Ma. Nerizan Gador, and Godofredo Roque.

Roque was earlier described as another Napoles in the widespread scam. In an investigative report by Rappler, Roque was shown to own the network of NGOs led by KKAMFI, and who beat Napoles to the PDAF of members of the House of Representatives.

Also charged were officials from Nabcor and other implementing agencies National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC) and Technology Resource Center (TRC). The implementing agencies were charged for allowing the release of Clarete's pork barrel to the questionable NGOs. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.