MANILA, Philippines – Former Bacolod representative Monico Puentevella has been indicted for graft and malversation in connection with P21.56 million in unliquidated funds allotted for his city's hosting of the 2005 South East Asian Games (SEA Games).
In 2005, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released P50 million to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for the hosting of the 23rd SEA Games. PSC transferred the fund to the Bacolod South East Asian Games Organizing Committee (BASOC).
"As of 2011, PhP21,565,832.50 remained unsettled. Ombudsman investigators also found that the SEA Games fund was deposited to the personal account of the congressman," the Office of the Ombudsman said in a statement on Tuesday, June 27.
The resolution approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales noted that "by depositing the funds in Puentevella’s personal account, he had absolute custody and control of and responsibility for the funds."
"His failure to liquidate or account for the amount of PhP21,565,832.50 which was under his custody and control, despite demands and the lapse of several years from the time the liquidation was due, would necessarily lead to the conclusion that he had used the funds for his personal benefit," the resolution added.
The Commission on Audit (COA) rejected the liquidation documents because of non-compliance to standard procedures. (READ: Ex-Bacolod congressman mishandled P36M in 2005 SEA Games funds – COA)
“The documents for the unliquidated amount were not approved by COA-PSC since these consisted of personal vouchers of respondent Puentevella and mere photocopies of invoices or contracts. The COA-PSC had already made demands on respondent to settle or liquidate the financial assistance thru two letters dated 16 January 2009 and 24 March 2009. However, respondent failed to comply,” the Ombudsman said.
Puentevella is facing other graft charges before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan for the procurement of an alleged overpriced P26-million computer package, which he funded through his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
After 3 terms as representative of the lone district of Bacolod, Puentevella served as the city's mayor from 2013 to 2016. He lost his reelection bid to Mayor Evelio Leonardia in the last elections.
His last months as mayor was marred by a suspension order from the Ombudsman who found him guilty of simple misconduct for delaying the implementation of an administrative decision involving two city building officials. – Rappler.com