by Czarina Nicole Ong
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Thursday ordered the filing of charges against former Iloilo Rep. Niel (JunJun) Tupas Jr. before the Sandiganbayan due to his alleged involvement in the Priority development Assistance fund (PDAF) scam back in 2008.
Morales wants Tupas indicted for two counts of violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019, also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and one count of malversation through falsification of public documents for pooling his PDAF fund to ghost projects.
To be charged alongside Tupas are Alan Javellana, Rhodora Mendoza, Romulo Relevo, Ma. Julie Villaralvo-Johnson, all from the National Agri-Business Corporation (NABCOR) and Marilou Antonio, project coordinator of the Kabuhayan at Kalusugang Alay sa Masa Foundation, Inc. (KKAMFI).
On May 15, 2008, Tupas wrote a letter to the Department of Agriculture (DA) to transfer P5 million to the NABCOR for the utilization of his PDAF.
The former lawmaker declared that the money would be used to purchase hand tractors, water pumps and grafted fruit seedlings from KKAMFI, which will be the project implementer.
Unfortunately, Ombudsman field investigators discovered that the farm implements were never delivered to six recipient municipalities – Ajuy, Batad, Estancia, Lemery, San Rafael and Sara.
All six local governments denied receiving the supposed aid.
At the same time, Ombudsman investigators discovered that the liquidation documents submitted by Tupas and his co-accused were all fabricated.
“To be able to repeatedly release substantial funds from the PDAF, access thereto must be made available, and this was made possible by Tupas, Jr. who directly chose and endorsed his own NGO to implement his PDAF-related projects. Tupas, Jr. himself issued the requisite endorsement letters and similar documentation addressed to the DA and NABCOR, acts which were necessary to ensure that the chosen NGO would be awarded the project, ” Morales said.
“The evident misuse of the PDAF allocations through fictitious or non-existent projects should render respondents liable for malversation,” Morales added. ”
This Office is convinced that they conspired with one another in this nefarious scheme to misappropriate public funds drawn from Tupas, Jr.’s PDAF.”
Tags: Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices, Department of Agriculture, malversation, Manila Bulletin, Ombudsman orders ex-Iloilo solon Tupas charged over PDAF scam, PDAF scam, Priority Development Assistance Fund
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