Ombudsman charges 2 ex-congressmen over PDAF scam

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Wednesday, July 22, ordered the filing of graft and malversation charges against two former congressmen for misusing their pork barrel between 2007 and 2009.

Endorsing the recommendation of field investigators, the Ombudsman also ordered charges filed against officers of government corporations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who connived to channel millions of pesos to "ghost livelihood projects."

This was the first PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) scam case where the bogus NGOs involved were not linked to alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, the Office of the Ombudsman's spokesman, Asryman Rafanan, said on Wednesday. While not associated with her, the Pangkabuhayan Foundation Inc was found to be employing similar schemes of illegally diverting public funds to the personal pockets of government officials.

According to the findings, former Malabon-Navotas Representative Alvin Sandoval endorsed 3 NGOs that would receive P30 million of his PDAF from 2007 to 2009. Former Representative Candido* Pancrudo of Bukidnon had P8.2 million of his PDAF released to bogus NGOs.

The funds were channeled through the Technology Resource Center (TRC) and National Agri-Business Corporation (Nabcor). TRC executive Dennis Cunanan and former Nabcor chief  Alan Javellana were also named co-defendants.  

The 37-page resolution said the lists of project beneficiaries were forged, while people in identified villages denied that livelihood trainings were conducted. The NGOs were found to be non-existent or not in operation.

The Ombudsman also recommended that the former congressmen, TRC and Nabcor officers, and the "officers" of the NGOs be investigated for possible money laundering. – 

*Editor's Note: In a previous version of this story we erroneously listed the first name of former Bukidnon congressman Pancrudo as "Federico". It should be "Candido".